The Harrison Township Veterans Commission and American Legion Post 452 have partnered to offer memorial bricks at William Wilt Memorial Walkway that honor Mullica Hill residents who have served, living or not.
“The memorial bricks contain information about a veteran, the service member’s name and rank, branch of service and the years they served,” said commission member Jack Sommer, a former adjutant at the post.
“The memorial bricks are laid horizontally across the walkway in groups of seven,” he added. “That means we need a minimum of seven to submit a group order for installation. Ideally, we can get 14 new brick orders in time to meet the acquisition lead time necessary to have the new bricks made and installed in time for our annual Memorial Day rifle salute.”
It costs $75 for a brick to be inscribed and an order form must be filled out with the aforementioned information. Deadline is March 3 to ensure bricks are ready for the Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony.
“The production and installation of the bricks is outsourced to a local vendor,” Sommer explained, adding that two thirds of a brick’s cost pays for production and installation. The remaining proceeds will go to a memorial fund overseen by the veteran’s commission.
The commission will procure and install a Military Memorial Battle Cross alongside the William Wilt Memorial, according to Sommer. The cost with lighting is just over $5,000 and Post 452 has agreed to cover any additional costs associated with the installation. The brick initiative first started in 2015 and will continue until there comes a point where the entire walkway will be covered.
“The idea for the Veterans Memorial Walkway at the William Wilt Memorial was conceived in 2015 by former Deputy Mayor Dennis Clowney in collaboration with the Harrison Township Veterans Commission and American Legion Post 452,” said Sommer. “The late Diane Malloy, municipal clerk at Harrison Township, was also instrumental in the planning and execution.
“The goal is to have the entire concrete walkway leading up to the William Wilt Memorial covered with commemorative bricks,” he added, “turning it into a permanent tribute to Hero Lane, as Diane liked to refer to it.”
Though the township has always been proud to recognize America’s armed forces, the veteran’s walkway is not meant to garner special recognition, as Sommer put it.
“Most who have served aren’t seeking this attention or any special recognition for their service, as it is an honor to serve our nation,” said Sommer. “Our Hero Lane is a great way to show your gratitude for current and former members of the United States armed forces.
“Some bricks represent veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifices,” he added. “Others are in recognition of family members, past and present, who have served or are serving today.”