2022 Annual Memorial Day Observance
“The Morris County Board of County Commissioners recognizes resident Veterans by presenting them with the Distinguished Military Service Medal. These medals have been awarded since 2000 to Veterans or their family members to honor their service to our country. Medals are provided to Veterans who have been honorably discharged, who are present or former Morris County residents and who have provided a copy of their discharge papers. More than 10,000 have been presented to date.”
The 2022 Memorial Day Observance Ceremony
Morris County Distinguished Service Medals were presented at a Memorial Day Observance on May 25.
View photo gallery
Veterans Receiving Awards
Joseph Bryan Barbato, Boonton Township
Served in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom during nearly 15-years of service with the New Jersey Army National Guard.
Mr. Barbato, who grew up in Haskell, N.J, began his service in 2008, which included deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Somalia, the Horn of Africa and within the continental United States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is still finishing his service with the military’s COVID-19 response, which he has been attached to since December 2020.
Mr. Barbato, who has lived in Boonton Township in recent years, is a recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device and 10-Year Bronze Hourglass, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal and the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.
Mr. Barbato received a Masters of Social Work degree from Ramapo College, and he works part time as a social worker and in private security. He enjoys working out at the gym and football.
David Ernest Brady, Morristown
Commissioner Smith presented David Brady's award to his brother, William.
Served as an U.S Army Medical Corpsman in his term of service, from November 1964 through October 1970 during the Vietnam War.
Mr. Brady was born and raised in Morristown, one of eight children, including a twin brother. He served with the 37th Medical Company attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and an Overseas Service bar.
Following his military career, Mr. Brady obtained a B.A. Degree in Education at Montclair State University, and became a Middle School and High School teacher of Industrial Arts and Technology in Livingston and the Morris School District during a 28-year career. He lived for many years in Chester and was a union leader, representing New Jersey on the National Education Association Board of Directors for six years.
After retiring, he remained active in the New Jersey Retired Educators Association. Mr. Brady, now living in Nevada, is the father of four children and seven grandchildren. He enjoys motorcycles and cars, spending time with Hot August Nights Auto Club in Reno, Nevada; the Northern Nevada Harley Owners Group and the National Harley Owners Group.
William Everett Brady, Morristown
Served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Korea during the Vietnam War from June 1962 through June 1965.
Mr. Brady is the older brother of David Ernest Brady, who also received a medal today. He grew up in Morristown, one of eight children. Mr. Brady’s service coincided with the Vietnam War, however he served in what is known as the Korean DMZ and is being honored by Morris County with the Korean War Medal.
He received decorations for being an Expert Rifleman with an M-1 and a Sharpshooter with an M-14.
Following his honorable discharged in 1965, Mr. Brady entered the plumbing and heating supply industry. He is the president and owner of Brady Plumbing & Heating in Morristown, and has served the community through the Jaycees.
Robert Kent Shaw, Boonton Township (posthumous)
Served in the Korean War after being inducted into the U.S. Army on April 11, 1951 and, upon returning from Korea on April 17, 1953, Mr. Shaw was transferred to the Army Reserves and honorably discharged on May 6, 1957.
Born in Yeadon PA on July 20, 1929, Mr. Shaw graduated as a machinist from The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in Media, PA before entering the military. He served in Korea as a Private First Class with the 7th Infantry Division, also known as the Bayonet Division.
The 7th Infantry Division defended the line from Mundung-ni to the rim of “Punchbowl,” October 1951 through March of 1952. The 7th Infantry also assaulted and captured “Triangle,” “Sandy” and “Jane Russell” hills in October of 1952. Mr. Shaw was a small arms repairman who put his machinist skills to work when the parts for weapons were in short supply. He convinced his commanding officer to set up a machine shop so he could fabricate the needed parts.
Mr. Shaw received the Korean Service Ribbon with three campaign stars and the United Nations Service Ribbon.
After his honorable discharge, he met and married his wife, Anita, and settled in New Jersey, moving in 1967 to Mountain Lakes, where Bob liked to say that they were on vacation 365 days a year. The couple had a daughter and two sons during their 60-year marriage, and four grandchildren.
Initially, Mr. Shaw worked in the field of industrial pollution control where he became a recognized authority in paper mill wastewater treatment and an officer of the Whippany Paper Board Company. In 1973 he founded Shaw Built Homes and became a leader in the home building industry. He served as president of the Builders Association of Somerset and Morris, and he was inducted into the New Jersey Builders Hall of Fame.
In 2000 he was honored as a distinguished alumnus of the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades. Mr. Shaw inherited a lifelong love of fishing, hunting, boating and the outdoors. He shared this, along with his enthusiasm for flying, antique cars and photography, with his family.
Arthur Charles Schumm, Rockaway Borough
Served with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War from May 2, 1968 through March 30, 1972.
Mr. Schumm was born and raised in Jersey City before he enlisted in the Air Force, where he attained the rank of sergeant. He also was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Air Force Campaign Medal and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal.
After being honorably discharged in 1972, Mr. Schumm owned and operated a produce business for 16 years in Bayonne. He later sold his business and worked for ShopRite for 35 years in Dover.
Mr. Schumm, a loving husband for over 50 years, is the father of three children and nine grandchildren.
He is currently retired.
Carl “Mike” Cabañas, Morristown
Served in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom with the U.S. Army from Oct. 1, 2000 through July 21, 2013.
After graduating Chatham High School in 1999, Mr. Cabanas enlisted in the U.S Army in October 2000, serving three years at Fort Campbell Kentucky with the 101st Airborne Division and deploying to Iraq in 2002, where he served through 2003. He left active duty, but remained with the New Jersey Army National Guard.
He then deployed to Guantánamo Bay Cuba in 2004, serving through 2005 during Operation Enduring Freedom, after which he returned to New Jersey and joined the ROTC Scarlet Knight Battalion at Rutgers University. Upon graduation in 2008, Mr. Cabanas was commissioned as a military officer and branched into the Army infantry, serving an additional five years of active duty as a commissioned officer.
He attended U.S. Ranger School before being assigned to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii with the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry Regiment, (The Wolfhounds). Mr. Cabanas deployed to Kunar Afghanistan in 2011, serving as a mortar platoon leader and leading several detachments across a vast area of operation. He was wounded in mid-2011 by sniper fire and returned to Hawaii, concluding his service in 2013, when he retired as a captain.
Mr. Cabanas received two Army Commendation Medals, a Purple Heart, three Army Achievement Medals, a Good Conduct Medal, two Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Humanitarian Service Medal and he was presented with a U.S. flag upon retirement.
Upon leaving the military, Mr. Cabanas returned to his hometown, Chatham, and pursued a law enforcement career. He became a Springfield Township Police Officer in 2015, and he is currently a Middlesex College Police Officer.
Mr. Cabanas also served as a volunteer fire fighter in Chatham Township from 2014 to 2016, and he is pursuing a position with the Morristown Police Department.
Mr. Cabanas has achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from Rutgers University in 2008, a Master’s Degree in Human Services Management in 2015 at Seton Hall University and graduated the New Jersey Police Training Commission 2015 Basic Police Course and the Jersey Fire Fighter 1 Basic Fire Fighter Course.
John P. Wagener, Montville
Served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, from June 1957 through May 1969.
Mr. Wagener was promoted to Captain by 1959, just two years after enlisting in the military, and he received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio University after his honorable discharge.
He became a Systems Analyst and Consultant with the Burroughs Corporation, Exxon Corporation, United Parcel Service and Price Waterhouse Cooper. Mr. Wagener has been a loving husband for 57 years, raising three children – Mark, Christine and Patrick – with his wife, Francoise.
His service to his local community included being a member of the Knights of Columbus, Montville Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity and the Montville Senior Center.
He enjoys fishing and reading.
Ketankuma “Ketan” A. Shah, Parsippany
Served in the United States Marine Corps in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Living in North Bergen when he joined the Marine Corps, Mr. Shah served beginning in March 2002 after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. the previous fall. He continued to serve through August 2010, being trained as a machine gunner and receiving commendations that included the Combat Action Ribbon, Overseas Deployment Ribbon, a Marksman Rifle Badge, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device, and a Presidential Citation.
Mr. Shah now has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Accounting and Finance, and he is currently employed as a corporate tax analyst. He volunteers his time organizing Toys for Tots charity campaigns.
Thomas Philip Infusino, III, Montville
Served in the New Jersey Army National Guard, including a tour in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2013.
Mr. Infusino, who grew up in Cedar Grove, entered the Guard after graduating high school, and he served in Europe as a Military Police officer until being discharged in 2006. He re-enlisted in 2010, trained as a combat engineer and was activated in 2012 in the continental U.S. after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey. By 2013, he was activated again to serve in Afghanistan, landing in the Helmand Province for six months with a team assigned to protect private contractors for the Army Corp of Engineers.
He earned the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and NATO Medal.
His career, when not on active duty, included being a supervisor at Tiffany & Co., then serving as an Officer with the Belleville Police Department. He is now with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department.
Mr. Infusino is a loving husband to his wife, Rachel, with whom he has a son and daughter, both in grade school. He and his family have lived for the past 12 years in the Towaco section of Montville, where he enjoys travel and golf.
Nancy M. Jones, Wharton
Served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from August 1967 through September 1968.
Ms. Jones grew up in North Carolina and joined the Army when she was 19 years old. As she tells it, “I left my small town of Sanford, North Carolina and traveled to Raleigh as a young woman beginning a new journey.”
It was her first plane flight, and it took her to Fort McClellan, Alabama.
“I was excited and nervous at the same time,” she said, describing how she became good friends with people who went through basic training with her.
One of Ms. Jones’ most poignant recollections is best told in her own words:
“One thing that stuck in my mind was getting up every morning, saluting the United States flag at 5 am. I did not understand why it had to be so early. I couldn’t make any sense out of that. But I followed the rules and I grew accustomed to the discipline. That is the reason why I am upset and my heart cries out even today when I see someone burning the flag.”
Ms. Jones attended Central Carolina Community College in North Carolina; Dover Business College in Dover, N.J. and the County College of Morris in Randolph. She was employed by Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical Co. for 22 years and Delta Airlines for 26 years, and spent time traveling – to 13 countries by her count, including Russia, Amsterdam, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Greece.
Each year, Ms. Jones actively organizes Black History Celebrations, explaining that she wants to remind people how far African-Americans have advanced and the racial improvements in America.
Richard Alan Elfenbein, Flanders (posthumous)
Commissioner Cabana presented the award to Elfenbein's family.
Served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War from 1966 through 1968.
Mr. Elfenbein was born in Brooklyn, N.Y and living on 48th Street when he entered the Marine Corps on January 18, 1966. He had two years of college, and in the service he studied the Vietnamese language and went through Mine Warfare and Demolition School.
Mr. Elfenbein was a machine gunner, and by the time his tour ended on January 17, 1968, he had earned two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnamese Service Medal, the Vietnamese Campaign Medal and the Rifle Marksman Badge.
Mr. Elfenbein attended the Pratt Art Institute in New York City after being honorably discharged, and he worked in retail sales and showroom management.
For 50 years he was married to his wife Myrna, who describes him as a family man and proud father, as well as a proud veteran.
Mr. Elfenbein enjoyed sports, especially baseball. He also was a history buff.
Look Back on a Fallen Morris County Hero
We do not forget our heroes in Morris County, especially those who fall in combat or during military service. It is traditional to remember at least one by name at our Memorial Day Observance, and on this May 25, 2022 we look back on one who suffered through one of the most brutal conflicts of our nation: The War Between the States.
Charles Spencer’s life and service to our nation was short, and a story of the sadness and human tragedy in every war.
He was born in Rockaway in 1844, and he was working as a laborer by the time he enlisted on March 3, 1864 to join New Jersey’s 5th Regiment, Company D.
Charles Spencer, in a letter written March 17 to his family from Brandy Station, Virginia, offered the thoughts of a homesick young man waiting to hear from home just two weeks after he enlisted.
The text below represents how it was written:
March 17, 1864
Branders station (Brandy Station)
Dear father and mother
sister and brother
I am well at present
And hope that you are
same I have not
received no letter of
from you yet but
I thought that I would
write and let you knowe
how I am giting along
and ware I am I have
left Alex ander I am at
branders station verginya
and I like it very well
so far I have bin on ar
review here at branders
station there was about
Thirty Thousand soldiers
(the letters E G MILS appear on the bottom of the first page)
on the field you may bet
it was large armey they
covered about forty achors
you may bet they had
good musick there was
four bands on the field
This is miserable writing
say but I gess that you
o can make it out I had to
write on my knapsack it
is not like writing oon the
stand I am looking for a letter from you
would I like to here frome
you Tell (col) that he mu
st visit to me I must
bring my letter to a close
sow good by
Mr. Charles Spencer
Spencer was 19 years old, and stood only 5 feet, 5 inches tall with light hair and blue eyes. By June 14 of that year, three months later, Private Charles Spencer was dead.
He died of dysentery and was buried at 5 p.m. in Alexandria National Cemetery.
On June 28, 1864 his personal effects were sent back to his father, Nathaniel Spencer of Rockaway.
His name is on a memorial in Rockaway and a tombstone in Alexandria National Cemetery.