Morris County Salutes Veterans Day 2023
Published on November 09, 2023
28 Veterans Presented Distinguished Military Service Medals
As the Morris County Distinguished Military Service Medal program has grown in popularity, the Board of County Commissioners hosted two Veterans Day Observance ceremonies on November 8 and November 9 this year to publicly honor 28 local veterans, who were accompanied by family and friends.
CHECK OUT THE NOV. 8 PHOTO GALLERY
CHECK OUT THE NOV. 9 PHOTO GALLERY
State and federal authorities also issued honors to the former service members at these events, including State Sen. Anthony Bucco (Morris-25) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (Morris-25), Kellie Doucette, District Director, and Willy Tolba, Veterans and Military Affairs Liaison of U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s Office. State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (Morris-26) and U.S. Rep. Tom Kean also sent “Citations of Commendations and Praise” that were issued to each veteran at both events.
Making this year’s events extra special, Parsippany Council President Loretta Gragnani and Vice President Michael dePierro, who were receiving honors in relation to veteran service, were surprised to discover they were also being honored for many years of dedicated public service to the county.
Gragnani, whose husband, Adam, was posthumously honored for his service as a Navy veteran, is the current president of the Parsippany Township Council after serving on the council for two consecutive terms. In addition, she has served on the Board of Adjustments since 2006 in Parsippany, the township she has resided in for 54 years.
DePierro has spent more than 40 years on the Parsippany Council, which, if coupled with six years he served on the Parsippany school board, make him the longest-serving elected official in Morris County who is still active. He is the only Parsippany official to be inducted into the New Jersey State League of Municipalities “Elected Officials Hall of Fame.”
They both plan on officially retiring from public service at the end of the year.
After honoring them at the start of the 7:00 p.m. regular public meeting on Wednesday, Commissioner Director John Krickus began the presentation of Distinguished Military Service Medals to Morris County veterans.
Learn More About Each Veteran Honored
“Of all the titles I have had as an elected official, there is no title I am prouder of than United States Marine… The time I served, I remember that our Vietnam Veterans were not really treated the way they should have been. Thankfully today, I think we have a great widespread respect for our veterans, and I hope that always continues. You can challenge the war, but don’t challenge the warrior; they’re just serving our country,” said Krickus, a Marine Corps veteran.
He also noted that Nov. 10, marks the 248th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
The second ceremony took place on November 9th at the Morris County Veterans Services Office (VSO), where a ribbon cutting was also held to celebrate the opening of a new space for veterans’ services in the county-owned offices at the Morris View Health Care Center off West Hanover Avenue in Morris Township. The added room more than doubles the space available to support veterans and their families.
Medals were presented to veterans at the Nov. 9 event by Commissioners Thomas Mastrangelo, Stephen Shaw and Director Krickus. Commissioner Stephen Shaw, whose father, Robert Kent Shaw, was a U.S. Army Korean War veteran, reflected on the significance of the county’s Veteran medal programs.
“I did not know anything about my father’s military service until after he passed away. He was awarded a medal posthumously two years ago, which prompted me to look into his military service and realize what he went through and the sacrifices that he made in Korea,” said Shaw.
“The Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation does a phenomenal job researching and compiling information on the county website for a compendium of veterans from Morris County, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War,” Shaw added.
In preparation for the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the War in Afghanistan coming up on October 7, 2026, the Morris County Office of Planning & Preservation invites local soldiers and sailors to participate in its latest Veterans Compendium project.
Photo 1: (l-r) Commissioner Deputy Director Christine Myers, Rev. David A. Hollowell, Sr. and Commissioner Director Krickus.
Photo 2: (l-r) Commissioner Director Krickus, Mike dePierro, Loretta Gragnani and Commissioner Deputy Director Myers.
Photo 3: Group shot of Morris County veterans and public officials.
Photo 4: (l-r) Commissioners Shaw, Krickus and Mastrangelo were joined by members of American Legion Post 59 of Morristown in cutting the ribbon at the expanded Morris County Veteran Services Office.