Untitled Document


November 10, 2010


Board Honors State Senator Ronald L. Rice, Brazil Elliot Charles Brown,
William E. Elmore, Jr., Clinton Franks and Louis Walter Johnson


Photo by Glen Frieson
Freeholders congratulate their Veterans Observance honorees: (front, l. to r.) honorees Louis Walter Johnson and William E. Elmore, Jr.; (back row, l. to r.) Freeholder Carol Y. Clark, honoree Clinton Franks, Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson, Judy Springer, DMD (mother of honoree Brazil Elliot Charles Brown), Freeholder Donald M. Payne, Jr., honoree Senator Ronald L. Rice, and Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson.

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held its 2010 Veterans Observance on Wednesday, November 10th, at the Hall of Records to recognize the patriotism and sacrifices of Essex County veterans, past and present.  The Observance included a program during which five Essex County veterans were honored for their service to their country and presented with framed Commendations, plaques and service medals.  The ceremony was followed by a catered reception for their families, friends and invited guests.

This year’s honorees were: State Senator Ronald L. Rice of Newark (sponsored by Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson); Petty Officer 3rd Class Brazil Elliot Charles Brown of South Orange (sponsored by Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson); William E. Elmore, Jr., of Newark (sponsored by Freeholder Donald M. Payne, Jr.); Clinton Franks of Maplewood (sponsored by Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley); and Louis Walter Johnson of Orange (sponsored by Freeholder Carol Y. Clark).



Photo by Glen Frieson
State Senator Ronald L. Rice (left) is congratulated by Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson during the ceremony.

State Senator Ronald L. Rice (28th District) is a Vietnam veteran and served in the United States Marine Corps from 1966 to 1970.  He was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Sergeant, and earned several honors, including the Good Conduct Medal.  Senator Rice attended Essex County College, Howard University and John Jay College, and received his Masters Degree from Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice.  He joined the Newark Police Department in 1972 and served as a Detective until his resignation in 1980, when he transitioned into the private sector with PSE&G where he managed the protection of the company’s assets and employees’ safety and later became the company’s Senior Community Affairs Representative.  He began his long career in elective office in 1982 by becoming the first African-American elected to serve as Newark’s West Ward Councilman, and then continued to serve on the Newark Municipal Council until 1998.  Senator Rice was elected to the New Jersey Senate in a November 1986 Special Election to represent the 28th Legislative District, and is currently serving his seventh full term.  Currently, he serves as the Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Public Schools, as well as a member of the Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee.


Photo by Glen Frieson
Freeholder President Blonnie Watson holds a photo of her honoree, Petty Officer 3rd Class Brazil Elliot Charles Brown, and presents a plaque and commendation to his mother, Judy Springer, DMD


Petty Officer 3rd Class Brazil Elliot Charles Brown of South Orange is a 2004 graduate of Columbia High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society.  Thereafter, he attended American International University for one year before enlisting in the United States Navy.  He completed his basic instruction at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois in 2009, where he earned an award in marksmanship, and then received aviation ordnance training in Mississippi before being sent on his first tour of duty in the Mediterranean.  Due to the fact that he is currently on active duty, Petty Officer 3rd Class Brown was unable to attend the meeting, but he was represented by his family.



Photo by Glen Frieson
William E. Elmore, Jr., of Newark receives his plaque and commendation
from Freeholder Donald M. Payne, Jr.

William E. Elmore, Jr., of Newark, joined the U. S. Army upon his graduation from Piscataway High School in 1978.  In the Army, he was responsible for training U. S. and foreign soldiers in his role as a Nike Hercules Fire Control Operator for a nuclear missile system.  He also served as a Patriot Missile crewman over a period of 8 ½ years, during which he served a 1-year tour in South Korea and a 2-year tour in Germany, before leaving active service in 1987.  Mr. Elmore joined the U. S. Army Reserves in 1989 and served as a Drill Sergeant where he was responsible for basic training in combat skills, explosives and nuclear, biological and chemical warfare until his retirement in 2001.  Aside from his career in the military, Mr. Elmore served as a Code Enforcement Officer in the Newark Department of Neighborhood Services, Division of Inspections and Enforcement, from 1987-1995, as well as a Juvenile Corrections Officer at the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center from 1988-1990.  He also served as a Senior Corrections Officer at Northern State Prison from 1994 until he was medically retired in 2005.





Photo by Glen Frieson
Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley (right) presents the Board’s plaque and commendation to Clinton Franks

Clinton Franks of Maplewood served as a First Sergeant in the U. S. Army Reserves for 23 years until his retirement.  During his military service, he served as a Senior Drill Sergeant, Master Sergeant, and a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge in the Training Section.  He was also a qualified Infantry Soldier and Light Wheel Mechanic, and was mobilized in support of Iraqi Freedom.  Following the completion of his military service, Mr. Franks has enjoyed a career as an accomplished law enforcement professional with over 15 years of experience serving the community of Irvington in the Mini Precinct Community Relations Department as a Bicycle Patrol Officer and Walking Patrols.  He has performed various functions within the Irvington Police Department, including: Records Bureau, Evidence, Auto Squad and Drug Task Force, Dispatcher, Shift Supervisor, 911 Primary Operator, Accident Reconstructionist, Emergency Vehicle Instructor, and is currently employed as the Information Technology and Personnel Supervisor.



Photo by Glen Frieson
Louis Walter Johnson of Orange receives his plaque and commendation from Freeholder Carol Y. Clark

Louis Walter Johnson of Orange joined the U. S. Army on March 8, 1951, and left active duty in 1955.  He then entered the Special Forces Reserves in 1957, where he remained in the service for thirty-one years as a Master Sergeant, serving the last 20 years even though he was diagnosed with a damaged vertebrae and was considered 100% disabled.  He retired in 1984.  He was elected the second President of the renowned “Triple Nickels”, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, which gained fame during World War II as the first all-Black parachute infantry test platoon, company and battalion which, in the process, was instrumental in breaking through racist barriers in the U. S. military.  Mr. Johnson also served in the Orange Police Department from 1957 until 1967.  He has been married to his wife, Edna Mae, for 58 years, and they are the proud parents of five children.

The 2010 Veterans Observance was a heart-rending and poignant event that also included remarks from Essex County Administrator Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq. and Essex County Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura, opening and closing prayers by Essex County Health Officer Dr. Michael Festa, and a musical performance by Ms. Kathy Brown of Montclair, Research Analyst for the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
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