Untitled Document

November 7, 2013


Board Honors Tracy Bowers, Joseph P. Brennan, Jr., Arthur Bailey, Robert E. King, Joseph V. Longo, Joseph V. Longo, III, Donald Campbell, Walter Whitfield Morton, Jr., and Bernard Hargrove
During Ceremony at the Hall of Records

2013 Veterans Observance Honorees: front row (l. to r.) Bernard Hargrove, Donald Campbell, Joseph V. Longo (holding photo of Joseph V. Long, III) and Robert E. King; back row (l. to r.) Walter W. Morton, Jr., Tracy Bowers, Arthur Bailey and Joseph P. Brennan, Jr.   PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held its 2013 Veterans Observance at the Hall of Records on Thursday, November 7th, to recognize the patriotism and sacrifices of Essex County veterans, past and present.  The Observance included a program during which nine Essex County veterans were honored for their service and presented with framed Commendations, plaques and service medals.  The ceremony was followed by a catered reception.

This year’s honorees were: Tracy Bowers of Irvington; Joseph P. Brennan, Jr., of West Orange; Arthur Bailey of Newark; Robert E. King of East Orange; Joseph V. Longo of Belleville; Joseph V. Longo, III of Belleville; Donald Campbell of Newark; Walter Whitfield Morton, Jr., of Montclair; and Bernard Hargrove of East Orange.

Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson opened the program with welcoming remarks that included a brief history of Veterans Day and ended with a poem entitled, “Take a Moment to Thank a Veteran” by Joanna Fuchs. She reminded attendees that unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day is a day that we celebrate all United States Military Veterans – in honor of their patriotism, love of their country and willingness to serve and sacrifice. 

This year each of the freeholders participated in the event by sponsoring an honoree.  They were proud to have the following branches of service represented; the United States Air Force, the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy.

Tracy Bowers received his plaque, medal and commendation from Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Tracy Bowers grew up in Irvington where he attended the public school system and graduated from Irvington High School.  Three days after graduation, he left for basic training for the United States Navy in Great Lakes, Illinois under the Sea College Program.  Upon graduation from basic training, he was stationed in San Diego, California aboard the flagship USS Cushing (DD-985) as a Postal Clerk.  His ship’s mission was anti-submarine warfare. Mr. Bowers completed his tour of duty in May of 1987.  He obtained the rank of E4 Petty Officer Third Class. 
In 1990, he joined the Irvington Police Department and in 2001, he was promoted to Sergeant, in 2005, he was promoted to Lieutenant and in 2013, he was promoted to Captain.  Currently, he is in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Bureau at the Irvington Police Department. He is married to Karen (nee Harrison) Bowers and they are the proud parents of four children: Brittany, Brandon, Tracy, Jr., and Taylor.

Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold presented the Board’s plaque to her honoree; Joseph P. Brennan, Jr.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Joseph P. Brennan, Jr., of West Orange, was born in Orange and earned his B.A. Degree in Political Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford. He continued his education and in 1971, earned his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark.  Mr. Brennan served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1971, during the Vietnam War as a Counter Intelligence Agent.  He was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group and 1st Special Forces, Nha Trang, RVN. He attained the rank of Sergeant and received the following military awards for his service to the United States Army: the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnamese Civic Action Medal, Unit Citation, Special Forces and the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Mr. Brennan enjoyed a 35 year career with the County of Essex, including 18 years as Deputy Surrogate and Surrogate. He began his career with the County of Essex as Counsel to the Essex County Welfare Board in 1975, where he served until 1980.  In 1983, he was appointed to the position of Chief Deputy Counsel to the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, where he served until 1994. Mr. Brennan was appointed Essex County Deputy Surrogate on January 1, 1994, and was then elected Essex County Surrogate in 1996, where he completed his third 5-year term December 31, 2011. He was also elected to the West Orange Municipal Council in 1980, where he served three terms until 1992, and he then served as West Orange Municipal Prosecutor from 1992 through 1993. He has served as Chairman and Counsel for the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade and was honored by being named the Parade’s Grand Marshal in 1995. 

Joseph P. Brennan, Jr., has received numerous accolades, awards & honors from many civic, community and volunteer organizations.  Joseph P. Brennan, Jr., has been married to his wife, Eileen (nee Kaniecki) since 1972, and they are the proud parents of Kevin, Steven and Thomas.

Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson presented the Board’s plaque, medal and commendation to her honoree; Arthur Bailey.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Arthur Bailey of Newark was born and raised in Newark where he attended the public school system and graduated from South Side High School (Malcolm X Shabazz High School).  On January 16, 1953, he enlisted in the United States Air Force.  Always ready for a new challenge, he looked to the military and the idea of airplanes and flight intrigued him.  He was sent to Lowry Air Force Base and spent two years in Fairbanks, Alaska.  There he studied Air Defense and learned how to repair Bomb Rockets and B-47’s, which on several occasions he had the opportunity to fly during the Korean War.  It was his job to make sure the airplanes were ready for battle.  Although never deployed to Korea, his service in maintaining and repairing the airplanes played an intricate part in this country’s success in winning the war.   Furthermore, he was the only African American student in his class at Lowry Air Force Base.  Arthur Bailey’s next tour of duty was to Shreveport, Louisiana, where he was introduced to atomic weaponry; its usage in battle and delicate nature.  He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal for a job well done.  He was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on January 15, 1961, after eight years of service as an Airman First Class. 

After being honorably discharged from the military, Mr. Bailey began a career as a warehouse supervisor.  He is currently active in the High Park Gardens Community where he has lived for 48 years and volunteers countless hours of service.   On December 3, 1966, he married the love of his life Joan, who passed away recently on June 5, 2013.  He is the proud father of two daughters, Sharon Bethea (John William Bethea), and Tammy Williams (Donald Corey Williams) and the loving grandfather of five grandchildren; Aaron Bethea, Ian Bethea, Matthew Williams and Chelsea Williams.

Freeholder Carol Y. Clark presented the Board’s plaque to her honoree; Robert E. King of East Orange. PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Robert E. King of East Orange, affectionately known to family and friends as “Bob”, was born 79 years ago in Conroe, Texas.  In 1944, the family moved north and settled in New Jersey which has been his lifelong residence.  After high school Robert E. King’s father encouraged him to join the military (mainly to stay out of trouble); therefore, with pride in his heart, he joined the United States Air Force.  He was stationed in Japan during the Korean War and obtained the rank of Airman Second Class.  After four years he was honorably discharged.

In 1966, Mr. King was appointed as an Institutional Barber at Overlook Hospital where he worked for 20 years.  Additionally, he enjoyed a total of over 50 years as a barber in several shops in Newark, New Jersey. After retiring from Overbrook Hospital, he sought employment with his beloved City of East Orange, New Jersey and was appointed as a Code Enforcement Inspector for the City.  He retired from this position in 2001. In 2006, Mr. King was named Community Grand Marshal and proudly led the Memorial Day Parade through the city of East Orange. 

Although he is not as energetic as he used to be, he remains involved in city activities.  He is known to always have a pleasant demeanor and thanks God each day for his life with family, neighbors and friends.  In 1972, while working at Overlook Hospital, Robert met Rita, who became his wife.  Last year they were blessed to celebrate 40 years of marriage.  Furthermore, he so enjoyed his deployment in Japan that he surprised his wife Rita, with a vacation for their 15th wedding anniversary to Tokyo to re-live memories and make new ones. They are the proud parents of three children; Al-Tariq, Aliya and Ashanti; six grandchildren and one great grandson.

Michael Gray of Newark performed a moving original song during the musical interlude in the program.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

The event was favored with entertainment by Michael Gray of Newark, Director of Constituent Services and International Relations to Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., who performed an original tune that he penned while just a high school student, entitled, Unity Hands

Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson presented the Board’s plaque to his honoree; Joseph V. Longo of Belleville.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Joseph V. Longo currently of Belleville, was born in Brooklyn, New York, however after the passing of his parents at a young age, he and his sisters; Phyliss and Catherine were cared for by their aunt Phyliss Cook in Belleville, New Jersey where he graduated from Belleville High School. Mr. Longo enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduation and reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina for training.  Upon graduation from boot camp, he reported to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and attended Motor Transport Training School, subsequently receiving the military occupational specialty of Motor Transport Operator. In 1981, he was assigned to the USS Newport (LST-1179) for deployment to the Caribbean on a show of force mission in El Salvador.  After returning from deployment, he was assigned to the All-Marine Boxing Team as the trainer and received an honorable discharge in February 1985. Joseph V. Longo has received the following personal awards including; the Good Conduct Medal; a Meritorious Mast for superior performance of duties while assigned as a tactical motor vehicle operator in support of exercise “solid shield”; he received certificates of achievement with the All-Marine Boxing Team; the Inter-Service Boxing Championships and the USA-ABF Boxing Championships.  Joseph V. Longo is a life member of the West Hudson Detachment of the Marine Corps League and has served as the Commandant and Senior Vice-Commandant.  The Marine Corps League is a veteran service organization for those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged.  Members join together in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving the traditions and promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps and to perpetuate the history of the United States Marine Corps with fitting acts to observe the anniversaries of historical occasions of particular interest to Marines.

Joseph V. Longo is currently a trustee and past president of the Belleville Board of Education and he is a trustee of the Belleville Public Library and has served as a volunteer with the Belleville Music Boosters Association, as well as many other community events and fundraisers.  He is a sales representative with Marange Printing in Belleville, New Jersey.  He is married to wife Maria and they have two children; a daughter Natalie and a son, Joseph, III a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps who just completed active duty in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In a rare and unique moment, Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson and Freeholder Brendan W. Gill honored a father and son, both servicemen in the United States Marine Corps, Joseph V. Longo and Joseph V. Longo, III.  Unfortunately, the younger Longo was unable to attend having just completed active duty the day prior.  He was traveling from Louisiana on his way back to New Jersey to begin the next chapter in his life.  Freeholder Gill stated in jest, of Longo III, calling him “a chip off the old block”.  His parents held a photo of their son accepting the honor in his absence.    

Freeholder Brendan W. Gill of Montclair presented the Board’s plaque to his honoree’s parents Maria and Joseph Long as they hold Joseph the 3rd’s photo in his absence.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Joseph V. Longo, III was born and raised in Belleville. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and in 2005, reported to Basic Training in Parris Island, South Carolina. During his career in the United States Marine Corps, he accomplished the following in training and certifications; School of Infantry (2006), Terrorism Awareness (2006), Counseling for Marines (2006), Leadership and Management Training (2007),  War Fighting Techniques (2007), Secret Security Clearance (2009), Senior Military Leadership School (2011), Infantry Patrolling (2012), Non-Lethal Weapons Skills (2012), X26 Taser Certified (2012) and Black Belt in Marine Corps Martial Arts (2013).  Joseph V. Longo, III throughout his active service has achieved many decorations, awards, commendations and badges. Those noteworthy acknowledgments include; the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, two Navy Unit Commendations, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, two Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, the Meritorious Mast, eleven Letters of Appreciation, five Certificates of Appreciation, the Rifle Expert 5th Award and the Pistol Sharpshooter. Mr. Longo, III has attained the rank of Sergeant and has contributed eight years of active service. His career of enlisted service is comprised of the following points of interest; II Marine Airwing Band, Cherry Point, NC; MWHS-2, Al Asad Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom); III MEF Band, Okinawa, Japan; and the Marine Corps Band, New Orleans, LA. He ended his active service to the military on November 6, 2013.

Freeholder Rolando Bobadilla (right) presented the Board’s plaque to his honoree; Donald Campbell of Newark.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Donald Campbell currently of Newark was born and raised in Jersey City.  He attended the Jersey City Public School System and graduated from William L. Dickinson High School. Donald Campbell enlisted in the United States Army in September of 1953, at Camp Kilmer located in Central New Jersey. He enlisted to avoid being drafted, because he wanted to ensure that he would be a soldier in the United States Army, his favorite branch of the military.  Mr. Campbell completed his basic training at Fort Dix Army Base and completed an eight week training course in Amphibious Transportation Main MOS. He served in Korea and Japan where he drove tractor trailers and DUKW (Duck) trucks which are six-wheel-drive amphibious trucks that were designed for transporting goods and troops over land and water, and for use approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious attacks. Donald Campbell obtained the rank of Private First Class and after three years of service he was honorably discharged in November of 1956. Mr. Campbell is described as a humble man who feels that serving in the military was his duty to his country and he does not expect any accolades in return.
After military service Mr. Campbell was employed for a short time as a Milkman for Honecker's Dairy. He later became employed by PSE&G as a Mechanic and worked there for over 25 years until he retired.  He is married to Frances (nee Marasco) Campbell and they are the proud parents of three daughters; Filomena Zalewski, Jeanette Campbell and Regina Oliveira.  They are the loving grandparents of seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Walter W. Morton, Jr. of Montclair (left) accepted his commendation from Freeholder Gerald W. Owens.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Walter Whitfield Morton, Jr., of Montclair affectionately known as “Dumps”, attended the Montclair Public School System and was drafted into the United States Army in 1950. He began his term of service in the United States Army on February 9, 1951.  He served in the Motor Pool and Artillery Units and was honorably discharged in March 1953.
After working a variety of jobs to take care of his family, he was hired as a longshoreman in 1962.  Prior to becoming a longshoreman, he and a group of friends started the Tri-State Travelers Motorcycle & Social Club in 1955.  The Tri-State Travelers participated in numerous parades and sponsored many social gatherings to include their infamous Fish Fries and Dinner Dances and contributed proceeds of these fun-filled events to many different charities and organizations. Mr. Morton was an active and vocal employee and union member of the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) from which he retired after 44 years of service in 2000. 
Since his retirement, he has traveled and spent most of his time with family and friends. Mr. Morton has been an active member of the following organizations:  The American Legion since 1955, the Tri-State Travelers Motorcycle & Social Club since 1955, and the Retired International Longshoreman’s Association Local 1233.


Walter W. Morton, Jr. of Montclair (left) accepted his commendation from Freeholder Gerald W. Owens.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

Bernard Hargrove currently of East Orange was born in Henderson, North Carolina, the eldest of seven children. He attended the public school system and in 1961, after graduating from Henderson Institute he moved to New Jersey to find gainful employment.  In 1964, Bernard was drafted to the United States Army where he served in the Infantry as a Specialist 4 until April 1966.  During these years he was stationed at many locations such as; Fort Dix (New Jersey); Fort Knox (Kentucky); Fort Pope (Louisiana); Fort Carlson (Colorado) and Fort Reilly (Kansas) before he reached Viet Nam.  He recalled days in Viet Nam to be hot, scary and rainy.  While in Viet Nam, he sustained a leg wound earning him a Purple Heart. 

After returning to New Jersey, Mr. Hargrove became employed by the Ford Motor Company.  During his employment he held several positions from Assemblyman to Quality Control.  He attended CPI (Computer Processing Institute) in Paramus, New Jersey where he received certification as a computer technician.  He also spent three years at the U.S. Post Office during a period of lay-offs from Ford Motor Company until he was called to return to work.  In 2003, he retired from Ford Motor Company after 35 years of service.

Currently, Mr. Hargrove is employed part-time with Manhattan Labs in Pine Brook, New Jersey where he works in logistics.  He spends his days doing things that he enjoys.  He is the ministry leader for security at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark and an active member of the Mason Acacia Lodge #24 where he is a 32nd Degree Shriner. His hobbies are weekly card games, gardening, traveling and spending time with his two grandchildren.  He has been married to Trudy (nee Alston) Hargrove for 47 years and is the proud father of two children, Reverend Barry Hargrove and Bernika Simmons and the loving grandfather of Taylor and Zachary Simmons.

The 2013 Veterans Observance was a heartwarming event that also included remarks from the Essex County Administrator Ralph Ciallella, opening and closing prayers by Essex County Health Officer Dr. Michael Festa and the national anthem was performed by Kathy Brown of Montclair, Research Analyst for the Board of Chosen Freeholders.                                                   

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For Additional Information:
Kathy R. Brown, Research Analyst
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders


Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695