Changing of the Guard at Barnegat VFW Post

Jun 14, 2017
Photo by: Jake Taylor John Rivers

After 16 years at the helm, John Rivers recently retired as commander of VFW Post 10092 in Barnegat Township. Post members and other well-wishers feted him with a luncheon at Lefty’s in Barnegat on June 8.

Rivers, 85, plans to still be involved with the post.

 “We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said the Korean War Army veteran. “We have to continue to raise money to help veterans in various organizations.”

A local group that the post contributes to is Vetwork, a nonprofit organization in Lacey Township. It is dedicated to assisting honorably discharged veterans in coming home, getting situated, receiving financial, social, and medical aid, and readjusting to domestic life. 

Rivers said the post also contributes various scholarships for graduating seniors at Barnegat High School.

The outgoing commander welcomed his successor, Frank Healey.

“I think we will do well with his leadership,” said Rivers. “He has a lot of energy, and hopefully we’ll be able to attract new members.”

Healey would certainly agree.

“They’re our future,” he said. “We need veterans who fought in the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The 70-year-old Healey served in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968. He earned two Purple Hearts as a member of the U.S. Marines 1st Battalion 9th Regiment. He fought at the battle of Khe-Sahn, which took place in 1968.

“We were known as the walking dead because of all the people we lost,” he said.

A retired captain of the North Arlington Police Department, Healey joined the post three years ago and will continue working as service officer, which assists members in resolving issues with the Veterans Administration .  He is a 50-year member of VFW Post 8479 in Lyndhurst.

“I’m glad I came to Barnegat,” he said. “They’re a great group of people, and I hope we can grow.”   

Michaele Giaquinto, adjutant and treasurer, said the membership is at 92. She said a key role of the post is its Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy essay contests for grade school and high school students, respectively.

“It’s important for our young people to grow up with a respect for the military, to understand what they do and how they keep us safe,” she said.

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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