December 5, 2008


Board Honors Albert Clemonts, John S. James, Carlo Gerard Dellorusso,

Thomas J. Morrisroe, Jacinto Rivera and Monique D. Smith

( Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held its 2008 Veterans Observance on Thursday, November 13th, 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 six 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.  The honorees were: Albert Clemonts of East Orange and John S. James of Newark, who were co-sponsored by Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson and Freeholder Johnny Jones, both of Newark; Carlo Gerard Dellorusso of Newark, who was sponsored by Freeholder Vice President Ralph R. Caputo of Belleville; Thomas J. Morrisroe of Maplewood, who was sponsored by Freeholder Carol Y. Clark of East Orange; Jacinto Rivera of Newark, who was sponsored by Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez of Newark; and Monique D. Smith of Irvington, who was sponsored by Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley, also of Irvington.

front row (L-R) - Dellorusso, Smith, Morrisroe

back row (L-R) - Rivera, James, Clemonts

Albert Clemonts, served his country as a member of the U. S. Army for 25 years where he attained the rank of Sergeant E5, also serving as a Military Police Officer and Drill Sergeant Instructor.  He service included active wartime duty with the 2nd Infantry Division and the SCARWAF during the Korean Conflict, and with the 25th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.  He also served with the 10th Division MP in Germany , the 759th Division MP at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and at various other military installations in Japan and throughout the United States .   Sergeant Clemonts was awarded the Bronze Star and five Purple Hearts from combat missions in Korea and Vietnam    He is the proud father of five children and the grandfather of seven.

Albert Clemonts (Center) with Freeholder Carol Y. Clark (L) and Freeholder Pres. Blonnie R. Watson (R)

John S. James joined the U. S. Army Reserves while a freshman at Morehouse College and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant Infantry Officer by the New Jersey National Guard in 1991.  He served six months of active duty during Desert Storm in 1990 and then one year of active duty during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008, where he commanded a team that conducted over 100 combat missions and during which he suffered wounds, completed his tour, and then returned home in September of 2008.   He has attained the rank of Major and has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.  He continues to serve as the New Jersey Army National Guard Threat Team Chief at Fort Dix, New Jersey, while being employed as a Supervising Program Analyst for the Essex County Hospital Center.  Major James is the son of former Newark Mayor Sharpe and Mary James, and resides in Newark with his wife, Ligia.

John S. James (L) and Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson (R)

Carlo Gerard Dellorusso enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps in 2004 and reached the rank of Corporal prior to his discharge in August 2008.  During his years of service, he served one year in the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program in 29 Palms, California, where he was responsible for enlisting other Marines.  He was an Artillery Cannon Crewman, obtained Marine Combat and Special Operations Training in non-lethal individual weapons, and attained the rank of Section Chief.  His tours of duty included Okinawa, Japan (2005-2006) and Iraq (2006-2007).  He was awarded the National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Two Seas Service Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Carlo Gerard Dellorusso (L) and Freeholder Vice President Ralph R. Caputo (L)

Thomas J. Morrisroe served with the U. S. Air Force from November 1965 until February 1969.  He was with the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing and served in Vietnam from August 1967 until July 1968.   He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and has been the owner and operator of T. Morrisroe Contractors in South Orange for the last 37 years where he has resided for 57 years with his wife, Maureen, and where they raised their four children.  He is a member of the South Orange Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, is a former member of the South Orange Planning Board and is Vice President of the South Orange Democratic County Committee.

Thomas J. Morrisroe (L) with Freeholder Carol Y. Clark (R)

Jacinto Rivera enlisted in the U. S. Marines in 1983 and was attached to the 2nd Marine Corps Division from 1984-1988, during which he served as a Lance Corporal in France, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Lebanon during the 1985 TWA hostage crisis.  Upon leaving the Marines, he enlisted in the U. S. Army National Guard Infantry Unit where, as a Staff Sergeant, he served as a tow gunner, MP and in the Artillery until 1994.  Later, in 2003, Mr. Rivera enlisted in the U. S. Air Guard, where he currently serves.  He as been an Aerial Porter and a member of the Security Forces during tours of duty across the United States, as well as in Germany, Portugal, Kuwait on two occasions from 2003-2004, and in Iraq from 2007-2008.  Mr. Rivera has been employed by the Office of the Essex County Sheriff since 1988 when he joined the Security Division.  He graduated from the Essex County Police Academy in 1995 and has been a Sheriff’s Officer ever since.  He has been married to his wife, Rocio, for 15 years, and they are the proud parents of five children.

Jacinto Rivera (L) and Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez (R)

Monique D. Smith began her military career in 1994 when she joined the New Jersey Army National Guard as a Non-Commissioned Officer, later becoming a Commissioned Officer in February of 2001.  As a platoon leader, she was responsible for tactical deployment and logistical operations and, as an Executive Officer, she managed the daily maintenance of equipment and logistics.  She later attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U. S. Army.  From February 2006 to March 2007, she was the Wartime Commander of the 250th Personnel Services Detachment during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan , for which she received a Meritorious Service Medal for having safely deployed her unit to the combat zone with zero loss of personnel and equipment.   Ms. Smith has been a member of the Irvington Police Department since July of 2000, during which time she has served as a Police Officer, Narcotics Investigator, Detective, Sergeant and Firearms Instructor.  She is a graduate of Essex County College and is currently pursuing her education at Rutgers University.

Monique D. Smith (L) and Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley (R)

The 2008 Veterans Observance was a heart-warming and poignant event that also included a presentation on the significance of Veterans Day by Ms. Cynthia Hailey, who attained the rank of Sergeant E5 while serving in the U. S. Army, as well as vocal performances by Ms. Ruth Dargan and Ms. Kathy Brown, both of whom are members of the Freeholder Board staff.

front row (L-R) -  Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley, Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez, Dellorusso, Smith, Cynthia Hailey, Morrisroe, Freeholder President Blonnie R. Watson

back row (L-R) - Freeholder Vice Pres. Ralph R. Caputo, Rivera, James, Clemonts, Freeholder Carol Y. Clark

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For Additional Information:

Gary Kroessig, Public Information

Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders