Middletown Township is gearing up to restore a local World War I monument with help from American Legion Post 338. American Legion Post 338 has made a $1,000 donation to help fund repair of the circa 1930 monument, located on Church Street in Belford, announced Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Ph.D. The donation was presented to the township at the October township committee meeting by Commander Ron Stark and legion member Tom Garretson. Both men are also members of the township’s Veterans Affairs Committee.
The project, scheduled to get underway in 2017, will include repairs to the life-size doughboy statue. The bronze doughboy stands at attention in full uniform, with the barrel of a rifle in his right hand and the butt of the rifle on the ground. The figure is set upon a granite base, square in cross-section, with an angled top, resting on a rusticated granite slab. A bronze plaque mounted on the front of the pedestal contains the names of several dozen WWI veterans from Belford, Port Monmouth, and New Monmouth.
“Our doughboy statue is symbolic of the township’s enduring respect for our courageous World War I veterans. We’re grateful to American Legion Post 338 for partnering with us to restore this significant monument,” said Mayor Scharfenberger.
Additional township programs that honor and support local veterans include the Fallen Veteran Commemorative Street Sign Program. More than 50 signs are being installed township-wide to pay tribute to veterans killed in action from World War I to the present. The program is managed by the all-volunteer Veterans Affairs Committee, with support from the Public Works Department. The township is also working to add designated parking spaces for veterans at Town Hall, the Middletown Library and Poricy Park as part of the Honorary Veterans Parking Program.