Mt. Olive Online Publication October 25, 2020
Mt. Olive Online Publication October 25, 2020
It may have been the bell ringing 504 times last weekend to honor the memory of soldiers that attracted the crowd at the third annual POW/MIA Remembrance 24 Hour Vigil Ceremony.
The ceremony was held Friday, Sept. 18 (National POW/MIA Recognition Day) at 4 p.m. to Saturday, Sept. 19, at 4 p.m. at the All Veterans Memorial in Budd Lake. The vigil was sponsored by the Morris County American Legion in partnership with the All Veterans Alliance.
Throughout the vigil, the names of 2,578 New Jersey veterans unaccounted for from all wars were read, followed by the ringing of the Ascension Bell 21 times every hour on the hour. This was the first year the bell was used as it is the newest element to have been added to the AVM earlier this month.
“The Ascension Bell was an extraordinary addition to the vigil,” says Charlie Uhrmann, founder of the AVM and AVA. “The presence of the guard tower provides not only a visual value to the overall landscape, but a bell that reverberates one of the most spiritual intonations into the atmosphere. Those who rang the bell did so with great honor. It was wonderful to see each and every one of them take the duty seriously and with the utmost respect.”
Morris County American Legion Commander Amery Vasso chimes in: “The bell has now become an integral part of the vigil and many participants felt it was important to ring the bell and wanted to do so.”
Up to 250 people attended the vigil this year to hear the names of those soldiers who were either prisoners of war or missing in action, and of course hear or volunteer to ring the bell.
“The bell was tolled 21 times on the top of each hour in honor of those whose names were read during that particular hour,” explain Uhrmann. “Since the 21-gun salute is rendered by the nation as the highest honor, we chose to toll the bell signifying the same. The tolling of the bell was extremely popular. There were times where we had three volunteers sharing the honor.”
Organizers says this vigil was one-of-a-kind to this area.
“I am not aware of any town in N.J. who does a 24 hour vigil,” says Vasso.
Volunteers took turns ringing the bell and reading the names, along with their
rank, service branch, date of loss and location of loss, says Vasso.
“There were a total of 23 readers; a mixture of veterans and volunteers,” says Uhrmann.
Why 21 Tolls
“The tradition of rendering a salute by cannon originated in the 14th century as firearms and cannons came into use,” explain Uhrmann. “Since these early devices contained only one projectile, discharging them once rendered them ineffective. Originally warships fired seven-gun salutes--the number seven probably selected because of its astrological and Biblical significance. Seven planets had been identified and the phases of the moon changed every seven days. The Bible states that God rested on the seventh day after Creation, that every seventh year was sabbatical and that the seven times seventh year ushered in the Jubilee year.
“Though the 21-gun salute became the highest honor a nation rendered, the United States did not agree on this procedure until August 1875.”
Memorial Fire; Death March; Flag Lowered
While the names were being read throughout the vigil, participants maintained the Memorial Fire and cadets from the Mt. Olive High School Air Force J.R.O.T.C. participated in the Bataan Death March by each hiking 14 miles.
The commemorative march honors the 60,000 - 80,000 American and Phillipino POWs who were forcibly marched 66 miles from Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan and Mariveles to Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac in 1942. Exact numbers are unknown, but approximately 18,000 POW deaths occurred over the five-day trek. By completing the 14 miles the cadets will earn the Bataan Death March Memorial Ribbon. Although the 14-mile Bataan Death Memorial March is nothing compared to what those POWs endured, it is carried out every year in order to commemorate their sacrifice.
“MOHS J.R.O.T.C reported 68 participants in the Bataan Death March; of which 47 completed at least 14 miles each, earning the Bataan Death March Memorial Ribbon,” says Uhrmann.
Other groups that participated in the vigil this year included: Representatives from the All Veterans Memorial; Morris, Warren and Sussex County American Legions; All Veterans Alliance; Daughters of the American Revolution; MOHS JROTC Air Force; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Rolling Thunder; Legion Riders; Morristown 2nd New Jersey Brigade – 7th Volunteer Infantry (re-enactors/living history.
Vigil Rings Success
Uhrmann, who has been deeply involved in the vigil every year, was pleased with this year’s event.
“This was a tremendous success,” says Uhrmann. “It was well attended, structured and very meaningful. We had a steady stream of people express their thoughts and appreciation for what we were doing.”
Adds Vasso, “This was by far the best one, but it is an evolution, we learn each year and add and modify through lessons learned. Participation grew this year word is getting out, we had the American Legion Department of New Jersey Commander Bob Newell attend, which is a first for the vigil.
“This is a unique event that has powerful meaning for remembrance but also creates a bit of camaraderie as those who participate and meet and talk build the network of a caring community of those who love their country and value the service and sacrifice of veterans,” he says.
Amber Charman of Bloomingale, chaplain /clergy of the AVA, AVM and Morris County American Legion, volunteered to help out during the vigil and was most impressed. “I’m blessed to be part of this endeavor to support education honor and serve the living,” says Charman, who served in the U.S. Army 101 Airborne Div. 3 in 2002-2007, in two combat tours in Iraq. “I’m so very grateful to be and do parts that I can. The vigil is so powerful I walked the honor walk of the Batan March from WWII along with the JROTC cadets, sore and hurting at the end, to show the fallen I’ll suffer as they did to a degree.
“Serving in a combat theater is extremely dangerous and scary; the feeling of never going home alive is real and being left behind even worse,” says Charman. “I believe that everyone should be repatriated home and found at all costs the greatest gift is love; to give your life for others is a tremendous sacrifice done for love. We owe it to them to never forget that love and cherish and honor their lives and their families to know we will never forget them either.”
POW/MIA soldiers were not the only noteworthy individuals recounted that day.
With Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing the same day as the vigil, organizers at the AVM knew what must be done.
“As you know, Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020,” says Uhrmann. “On September 19, 2020 at approximately 6:15 a.m. we were notified that President Trump released the Proclamation on the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ordering all flags to be lowered half-staff. In response, we immediately paused the reading of the POW/MIA names and held the first formal ceremony in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s civil service; only ten minutes after notification. “Announcing the Presidential Proclamation and ordering the lowering of the flag half-staff was General Frank Dulfer of the National Guard (retired); lowering the Flag was Morris County American Legion Commander Amery Vasso; standing vigil was Afghanistan Combat Veteran Chaplain Amber Charman and Vietnam Veteran / NJ DAR William Robinson.
Video editing by Eli Conway
Meet the artist behind the bell.
Signs, metal art and welding have been his specialty, but now that his latest project is complete, 'bell maker' certainly adds a nice ring to his resume.
Timothy Sheldon of Lafayette, owner of Wicked Workz metal, recently created the POW/MIA/PTSD Ascension Bell Tower at the All Veterans Memorial in Budd Lake. The bell was unveiled earlier this month on Sept. 5, and then utilized for 24 hours straight Friday, Sept. 18, and Saturday, Sept. 19 during the National POW/MIA 24 Vigil Ceremony.
After hours of working on the design with Charlie Uhrmann, founder of the AVM and All Veterans Alliance, Sheldon got to work.
“Designing the bell took some time as we wanted to mock up the best design!” says Sheldon, 29. “I would say making the bell and tower took rough 40-50 hours give or take with design, prototype, build, then disassemble, then rebuild at the memorial!”
The Ascension Bell rings in as the 11th element, resonating significant purpose in remembering soldiers. During the National POW/MIA 24 Vigil Ceremony, the bell rang 21 times every hour on the hour to honor New Jersey soldiers who are missing in action or prisoners of war.
Since she founded the AVM in 2008, Uhrmann has been continuously adding new elements to the memorial which is recognized as N.J’s premier ceremonial grounds that captures the nation’s rich history, service and patriotism honoring those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
After years to conceptualize, Uhrmann designed the bell and then commissioned artist/metal craftsman Sheldon to build it. He admits this was the first bell he ever created, but he has years of experience as a creator working with metal.
Sheldon attended Sussex County Technical High School, majoring in
in CADD (Computer Added Drafting and Design).
He admits to learning most of his trade from his father.
He worked as a CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machinist from 2011 to 2016, “But I wanted to get into something that gives me more pleasure and creativity,” he says. “I had an opportunity to go on my own and work for my father where I learned some skills and experience in welding, fabricating and such.
“My father helped me learn some stuff but mostly I just tried to learn myself especially when I make mistakes,” says Sheldon.
In 2017, Sheldon started his own company- Wicked Workz metal in Lafayette.
“We offer welding, fabrication, signs, metal art, and more,” explains Sheldon.
“I’ve never made a bell before this,” says Sheldon. “I mostly do signs, metal art, welding and fabrication.”
When asked how he knew how to make a bell and its tower, he says “Trial and error.
“I love the ability to use my mind and create something either my customer or I envision with my own hands and knowledge,” he explains.
Sheldon says his greatest challenge with the bell tower was “Making the bell resonate well and the tower collapsible for shipping or transportation.”
The exclusively deigned 24- inch bell stands 11” high and is 52”x52” square. The bell tower is made of regular steel, angle iron, bars, metal roofing, says Sheldon.
It was his previous work with the American Legion that connected him to Uhrmann.
“I did military flags for American Legion Post 91 and they recommended me to Charlie, she gave me a call and we hit it off,” says Sheldon.
He did some other work at the AVM as well.
“I designed, made and installed the memorial wall letters besides the bell tower,” he says.
Cost of the 24 inch bell is “around $495; the bell tower complete will be around $4,950. Prices for bigger options are upon request.”
Anyone interested in purchasing a bell, bell tower or any of his services, email Sheldon at TSheldon@wickedworkz.com.
Like the other elements that encompass the AVM, the Ascension Bell Tower has been registered with the U.S. Library of Congress.
"We're spreading the word to make Antoine Gayles lucky #7 on November 3rd." This is a paid advertisement by Antoine Gayles. Picture posted with permission.
Check out this great video
By Cheryl Conway
May the best applicant sit!
The Mt. Olive Twp. Board of Education plans to hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mt. Olive Middle School for the purpose of interviewing applicants for the vacant board seat. Action will be taken.
BOE Member Dr. Asunta Beardsley resigned on Sept. 1 and vacated her seat on Sept. 15. On the board for three years, Beardsley’s term is expiring this year, but she did not finish out her term as she is moving to Allamuchy.
The BOE has received applications from three local residents interested in filling the position. After each candidate is interviewed, “the BOE will move into closed sessions to discuss,” explains BOE President Dr. Anthony Giordano. “Then the BOE will come out and vote on the candidates.
“After a candidate has been voted on and receives the majority of the votes of the voting BOE members, they will be sworn in,” explains Giordano.
The chosen candidate will hold the position for three months, until Jan. 2021, when the board’s reorganization meeting is held.
At the last BOE meeting on Monday, Sept. 21, at the Mt. Olive High School Performing Arts Center, the BOE was discussing how they wanted to move forward with filling the vacated seat. They agreed that offering a special meeting focusing on the applicants would be the best option rather than waiting for the next meeting in October.
Members Question Dates And Venue
Some board members question why the BOE has been meeting once a month as opposed to two times a month, as it usually does. They also question why the location for the BOE meetings keep switching venues.
“Why are we meeting just once a month?” questions BOE Member William Robinson. “Why was Sept. 28 cancelled? We should go back to the meeting that was scheduled.”
The Sept. 28 meeting was recently cancelled and moved until Oct. 12.
Robinson suggested that the board decide now on the vacated seat so “new people can get their feet wet,” serving on the board for three months so they can see what it is like.
The BOE almost switched the date back to Sept. 28 until members realized that Monday is Yom Kippur, so they went with the day after.
“Why can’t we have it at the middle school?” suggests BOE Member Anthony Strillaci. “This is just ridiculous here. The people out there, I can’t see anyone here. You can’t hear, you can’t see anything.
“This is not a desirable place,” he continues, “it’s difficult to hear. This is not conducive; we have like 17, 18 people here tonight. This is too dark in here; it’s ridiculous.
“We should be back in the middle school,” says Strillaci.
BOE Member John Petrie, who is running in the upcoming November General Election for another three-year term on the BOE, announced at the meeting that he does not want to vote tomorrow night on the person to fill the vacated seat because one of the applicants is also running for the BOE and this would be a conflict.
Petrie says he is “recusing himself since one person is running for BOE. I’m not sure how unbiased I can be.”
In the upcoming election, seven candidates are vying to fill three seats on the BOE.
Petrie is running against BOE Member Dr. Antoine Gayles, whose three-year term also expires this year; Christopher Zeier, Richard Vanatta, Brian Schaechter, Colleen Suflay and Rhonda Cohen. Former BOE members Schaechter and Cohen are running with Suflay on the same ticket with the slogan “Schools in Motion.”
Get To Know Candidates
With the election approaching, it is wise to get to know the candidates in order to make an educated selection.
Some say ballot placement may cause voters to not consider all their options before making their choices.
“Ballot placement is totally random and should not be how we choose someone who is responsible for spending 70 percent of our property taxes,” says Irene Sergonis of Budd Lake, a committee-member of the Mt. Olive Democrats who ran for Mt. Olive Twp. Council last year.
Ballot placement can affect the outcome of an election, she says.
“I was working the polls and many people came out of the booths and said they voted for 1-2-3 on BOE since they had no idea of BOE candidates,” says Sergonis. “This has been the case in many of the recent elections.
“People should also read questions,” she says, when they vote.
The special BOE meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29, will be held at MOMS. It is open to the public but as per the N.J. Governor’s executive order, only 25 people are allowed inside for the indoor meeting. The meeting will be visible as a livestream on u-tube like the previous meeting, says Giordano.
Mt. Olive High School Boys Freshman Team competes in its first scrimmage on Friday, September 25, against West Morris Central High School.
In less than two months, voters will get to select three candidates to fill three seats on the Mt. Olive Township School Board of Education.
There are seven candidates vying for a three-year term on the BOE. Running for reelection are BOE Members Dr. Antoine Gayles and John Petrie, whose three-year terms expire this year. BOE member Dr. Asunta Beardsley is not seeking reelection as she is relocating outside the district.
The other candidates running in the November election include: Christopher Zeier, Richard Vanatta, Brian Schaechter, Colleen Suflay and Rhonda Cohen. Former BOE members Schaechter and Cohen are running with Suflay on the same ticket with the slogan “Schools in Motion.”
As a public service, the Mount Olive Democrats asked the community to
suggest questions to be asked of each of the seven candidates running
for the three positions being voted on this year.
“One goal of our organization is to share information with our community regarding important issues,” explains Irene Sergonis of Budd Lake, a committee member of Mt. Olive Democrats who recently ran for Mt. Olive Twp. Council.
“We received individual responses from Dr. Antoine Gayles, John Petrie
and Christopher Zeier. Brian Schaechter, Colleen Suflay and Rhonda Cohen
responded together. Richard Vanatta did not respond.”
To learn more about these candidates and responses to some concerning questions see the link https://mountolivedemocrats.org/posts/board-of-education-candidate-responses/
Tune Into CCM Virtual Open Houses
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph will be holding two virtual Open Houses to provide high school students, their families and adults with the opportunity to learn why CCM is the right place to start to meet educational and career goals.
Those attending the Open Houses will be able to explore academic programs and career paths by meeting with faculty members and learn about CCM’s student support services and co-curricular programs. The admissions team will explain the admissions and registration process and provide information on financial aid opportunities.
High school students, along with their families, can learn how they can get a jump-start on a college education by taking part in CCM’s Challenger Program. That program allows high school students to take college courses and start earning credit toward a degree.
The Open Houses take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 17, and Saturday, Nov. 14. Registration is required and is now taking place for the October session. To register, go to
By enrolling at CCM, students can focus on taking care of their general education requirements to transfer to a four-year school at a later date; explore their options with more than 100 degree, certificate and training programs; and get started on a rewarding and fulfilling career path.
Library Goes Virtual For Kids
Virtual Storytime: Do your kids miss Storytime and coming to the library? Tune in Monday through Friday to see all of the Children's Room Librarians reading stories on Facebook and Instagram.
Library Open For Curbside Pickup
The Mt. Olive Public Library is open for curbside pickup.
Requests can only be made via phone call or email.
There is a limit of six items for adults and eight for kids and young adults.
Patrons will be called once their items are available for pickup.
Bags will be placed outside of the library, marked with the last four digits of the patrons card number
Due to COVID-19, patrons may not enter library.
No books will be left outside the building after curbside hours.
Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Thursday: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed on Sunday.
For questions email: email@example.com; call 973-691-8686 ext.106.
Jordan Fisher Smith, Author, “Engineering Eden: A Violent Death, a Federal Trial, and the Struggle to Restore Nature in Our National Parks,” who will be giving a virtual lecture on Tuesday, September 29, at 7 p.m. at CCM.
Photo Credit: Jordan Fisher Smith
CCM Offers Extensive Zoom Programs
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph is offering extensive and engaging online public programming through the college’s Legacy Project and Parks Program: Project Yellowstone.
Make a reservation to participate in book discussions or a trivia night. Listen to poignant lectures and inspiring poetry readings and travel to majestic national parks all in the comfort of home.
Heading into its eighth year, the Legacy Project at CCM will continue to focus on last year’s theme of “War, Peace, and Healing” as a result of having to halt the Spring Semester programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Legacy Project, led by a team of CCM professors and staff members, has presented lectures and programming on a variety of important issues that impact the lives of both the CCM community and the public.
The award-winning Parks Program: Project Yellowstone is part of a CCM Community and Civic Engagement initiative that offers high-impact, interdisciplinary programs. Parks Program: Project Yellowstone brings together the academic disciplines of history, journalism and biology to enhance student learning and community engagement. Programs offered focus on environmental history and conservation via the lens of the National Park system and has served over 500 students each year.
The CCM Legacy Project and Parks Program: Project Yellowstone each received funding from a New Jersey Council for the Humanities grant. During the fall, events offered by the Legacy Project and Parks Program: Project Yellowstone are virtual.
Parks Program: Project Yellowstone Calendar of Events:
On Tuesday, September 29, at 7 p.m., join author Jordan Fisher Smith for a book discussion on “Engineering Eden: A Violent Death, a Federal Trial, and the Struggle to Restore Nature in Our National Parks.” A question and answer session with the author will follow the lecture.
Get your thinking caps on and a group together on Thursday, October 15, at 7 p.m. for Trivia Night. Test your Knowledge on all things conservation related, including categories on pop culture, history, Yellowstone, science and current events. Throughout the evening, $25 gift cards to the CCM Campus Store will be given to winners.
Join Native American scholar and Crow tribe member Dr. Shane Doyle on Tuesday, October 22, at 12:30 p.m., who will present on Medicine Wheel Country, or Big Sky County, in the Northern Plains. Doyle will provide information on Crow culture and an archaeological discovery that changed the understanding of human history.
Participants interested in Parks Program: Project Yellowstone events need to email firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom log-in information. The program also encourages the public to join its educational adventures via Instagram at @ccmparksprogram and Twitter at @PY_CCM to stay up-to-date on upcoming and new events, stories and photos.
NYU Professor Yvonne Latty, author of “In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss and the Fight to Stay Alive,” will present a virtual lecture on Tuesday, October 20, at 12:30 p.m. at CCM.
Photo Credit: Yvonne Latty
Legacy Project Calendar of Events:
On Tuesday, October 20, at 12:30 p.m., journalist and New York University Professor Yvonne Latty will present a lecture, followed by a question and answer session, on “We Were There: Stories of Black Veterans.” Latty is the author of “In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss and the Fight to Stay Alive,” and “We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, From World War II to the War in Iraq.”
On Tuesday, November 10, at 12:30 p.m., poet Seema Reza will present a lecture and question and answer session on “We Are Not Done Yet: Poetry and PTSD Awareness.” Reza is the CEO of Community Building Art Works, which encourages the use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care and socialization among a military population struggling with emotional and physical injuries that was the subject of HBO's documentary “We Are Not Done Yet.”
Reservations are required for Legacy Project events and can be made by emailing email@example.com. Participants will receive Zoom log-in details.
Submitted by Diane Lang, positive living expert, life coach, speaker.
We're in a Crisis, Now What?
The pandemic/quarantine has caused a global crisis. Being in any type of crisis will cause a mix of emotions we go through. The questions I get from many clients are: how do I handle a crisis? What will I feel? For many, it's easier, if we know what to expect and what to do. Just knowing that it's normal and others feel the same way can give us a sense of comfort and peace.
Four Ways to Deal with a Crisis
1. What is the action we need to take? The more information and knowledge we have of the situation the more control we have. Get as much up to date information so you can take the information, evaluate it and create solutions. Knowledge is the enemy of fear and can reduce fear.
*Remember, it's important to get up to date information from reliable sources but don't get overwhelmed with too much. Get what you need and move forward brainstorming and creating solutions.
2. Regression - we regress in our behaviors. It's a defense mechanism that many use. We become stressed/anxious and everyday feels like ground hog day. What can you do to self-soothe when stress/anxious? What is in your emotional toolbox? Exercise/walking, meditation, deep breathing, yoga, journal writing, etc. When everyday starts feeling the same, we become stagnate. To break this habit, do something new everyday. It can be simple things, try a new food/drink, walk a different route, read a different type of book, etc.
3. Lack of purpose - it's hard to focus, concentrate and stay motivated when we are in a crisis and a time of uncertainty but without purpose/meaning we don't feel happy and fulfilled. Create a new goal and action plan list that works for your current reality. If you are still trying to work on goals that were set pre-pandemic, they might not be realistic or attainable anymore. Your priorities, needs and wants might have shifted. Use this time to re-evaluate your life, what are your priorities? What's important to you? What do you value? What do you want/need?
4. Recovery - this is when we move forward with our new goals/action plans we set. This is the time for our new norm. Remember, our norm can change quickly so re-evaluate often.
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