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Reflections of patriotism

Fourth of July more than hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks

Created date

July 14th, 2009
Some adults don t like to wear patriotism on their sleeves, but for the residents of Seabrook, in Tinton Falls, and Cedar Crest, in Pompton Plains, acts of patriotism come naturally throughout the entire year. We are so fortunate to have residents, many of whom are veterans, who volunteer in a variety of ways, says Seabrook Volunteer Program Coordinator Ann Marie Matthews. They have logged more than 9,000 hours of work...with different organizations. Supporting our troops The American Recreational Military Services (A.R.M.S.), a group of grass roots volunteers who provide services to local armories throughout the tri-state area, recently benefitted from the generosity of Seabrook residents. Nearly 1,200 comfort items were collected for the servicemen and women of New Jersey who are serving in Iraq. Baskets were placed in every clubhouse lobby at Seabrook for three weeks and were filled with health and beauty aides, socks, batteries, microwave popcorn, and snack foods. I thought it was a good thing to do, says Seabrook resident Art Wenzel. It was very satisfying and impressive to see how the whole operation was set up with more than 40 categories of items that were being sent to the troops. It s always a pleasure working with the folks at Seabrook, says Bill Sosgreen, volunteer for the A.R.M.S. charity. It s not just about collecting things; it s about making a big difference in the life of a soldier. We celebrate the Fourth of July because of these men and women, he says. Matthews says this is their second year participating in the program. Traditional American celebration It s no wonder that Ruth Blocher of Cedar Crest has an American flag proudly displayed on her front door. As organizer of the Fourth of July and Veteran s Day activities at Cedar Crest, she wouldn t have it any other way. I am so proud to be born in this country, she says. There is no other place on earth that compares to the U.S.A. Born and raised in Philadelphia to patriotic parents and then married to a WWII Army veteran who served in Italy, Blocher insisted on a Fourth of July program that incorporates residents and staff and is celebrated on the actual holiday. We do it right and involve a color guard, pledge the flag, encourage audience participation by singing patriotic songs, secure a keynote guest speaker, and always have a meaningful patriotic poem read, she says. We always close with God Bless America too. Without a doubt, Ruth is the spark plug to our patriotic events, says Executive Assistant Pam Bateman. We always have a full house for this yearly celebration. I feel that we are a community of deep patriotism, Blocher says. One of our residents donated the first flag for our flag pole, and this program is perpetuated because people expect it. We really bring in a good feeling.