For the first time in its history, the township was presented with the We Value Our Veterans Award from Gov. Phil Murphy on Nov. 11.
Mayor Paul Medany, Deputy Mayor Tom Hufnell and Councilman Ken Barnshaw were among officials at the New Jersey State Veterans Memorial in Holmdel to accept the reward on behalf of the community. The memorial features a small museum with historic artifacts and photographs.
“The New Jersey Governor’s We Value Our Veterans Award gives your municipality, business or academic institution the opportunity to value and honor the sacrifices, patriotism and bravery displayed by our men and women who have worn the military uniform,” reads the description of the award on the state’s website.
“We were extremely proud of all the work we put in,” said Medany. “It’s an award for the whole community. We hope it brings attention to veteran causes like health care.”
The award recognizes the dedication and work of a municipality in helping and honoring military veterans. It goes to only 10 out of the 564 municipalities in the state each year on Veterans Day.
To receive the award, a municipality must apply on the nj.gov website and earn a total of 145 points, a score based on the applicant’s initiatives to help veterans. The points vary based on what a town’s programs do for vets, and can include initiatives like holding quarterly veterans’ roundtables, offering scholarships to high-school students of military families and listing veteran- owned businesses on the municipality’s website.
The state also gives out an employer veterans award and an academia veterans award, both of which have criteria similar to the main award.
“For us, it all starts with the Deptford Veterans Committee,” Medany noted. “In Deptford, we have special parking spots for veterans, specifically those that have received a Purple Heart and disabled veterans. There is also the Veterans Memorial in the Oak Valley section of town. There was a pickleball tournament a while ago, too, that donated the proceeds to vets.
“It’s all about bringing attention to veterans.”