Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman and Councilman Vinny Bellino will present representatives from the American Legion Post 263 and the Catholic War Veterans of Carteret, St. Elias Post 797, Inc., each with a check for $10,000 for improvements to their respective veterans posts. The funds will be provided by the borough’s Community Development Block Grant Rehabilitation Program, and will allow for roof upgrades to the local American Legion and Catholic War Veterans headquarters.
Carteret’s CWV headquarters, located at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Carteret Avenue, were established in 1946, when the empty lot it now hosts was purchased for a dollar. CWV Commander Mike Kepich, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and the Korean War, recalled that the original structure consisted of two small rooms, and yet played home to an original membership of between 200 and 400 war veterans. Since then the structure has tripled in size with the addition of a banquet hall. But in recent years the building has deteriorated, according to Kepich;
“We don’t owe a nickel now,” he stated, “but beginning about 15 years ago we’ve had to depend on loans for our maintenance. Our guys are getting old – so it’s been hard to keep up with. We’re down to about 35 members now.”
The American Legion Post 263 headquarters, at 1155 Roosevelt Avenue, has received an estimate for $14,000 for roof repairs, $10,000 of which will be covered through the rehabilitation grant. The post was first established on August 20, 1921, by 15 veterans of World War I, when Carteret was still called Roosevelt. It received its charter in 1930. The location of its headquarters varied over the years, as its membership grew, and was finally able to afford its own structure in 1958, where it stands today on Roosevelt Avenue.
“This administration is proud of the grants we have brought in for various projects over the years,” Mayor Reiman stated, “but also of the many grants we distribute to improve our businesses, nonprofit organizations, and to help improve quality of life standards. While our Office of Economic Development has jumpstarted our commercial corridors through its assortment of grants and small loans, we have distributed a number of grants and initiated programs specifically to improve the lives of our seniors and veterans. The Catholic War Veterans and American Legion are highly regarded and have a rich history in Carteret, and we are proud to help them make these needed repairs to their headquarters.”
Both grants will be formally awarded at the Council Meeting to be held Thursday, September 25, at 6:00 p.m. in the council chambers of the Memorial Municipal Building.
“The value of these facilities can’t be overstated,” Councilman Vinny Bellino, who served in the military during the Vietnam War era, stated. “They’re like a second home to these honorable men who served in our military during wartime. They’ve given so much for our country, and it seems appropriate, to say the least, that we give what we can in return.”
“Not only has their military service to our country been invaluable,” Mayor Reiman added, “but they have demonstrated a continuing commitment to each other and Carteret as a whole through these organizations. These building upgrades will be a lasting benefit to them and all of those who utilize their facilities.”