Blue Star Recognition

How appropriate that the Garden Club of LBI’s Blue Star By-Way Marker was dedicated on Flag Day, June 14.

The Blue Star Program, founded during World War II by the President of the Garden Club of New Jersey, is a tribute to all veterans serving in our Armed Forces. The club’s Marker, outside the Beach Haven Library, is one of more than 2300 memorials and the 36th in New Jersey.

President of the Garden Club Maryann Chatfield (far right) thanks Co-Chairs Chris Vohden and Bev Reitinger for all their hard work and dedication in making the Blue Star installation a reality.

Jeff Hicks of the Vincentown American Legion presenting the New Jersey State Flag.

Early arrivals Diane Barbieri, Bev Reitinger and Judie Alloway.

Joan Rapp’s husband, Frank, made sure Debbie McWilliams, Lesley Taylor and Mary Stevens received programs designed by Pat Morgan and Irene Bausmith.

Beach Haven Elementary School K and Pre-K were on hand to do their rendition of “It’s a Grand Old Flag.”

Despite a predicted thunderstorm, the ceremony drew sizeable crowds (above left and below right).

Past President Bev Reitinger (2012-2014), the Memorial’s biggest supporter, catches up with with Virginia Lambert, her gym teacher, now retired, from Southern Regional High School.

Bev takes a moment to chat  with Susan O’Donnell, President of the Garden Club of New Jersey, who spoke at the dedication.

President Maryann Chatfield looks as if she’s beseeching the rain gods to hold off until after the ceremony–and it worked!  The sun came out just as she was welcoming attendees. Bev Reitinger waits her turn to introduce our guests.

The Beach Haven Elementary School warms up for its medley of patriotic tunes under the direction of Mrs. Keyes.

Linda Passaro’s Invocation was perfect for the occasion, citing John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesse Violanti of Vet Works and Assemblywoman Diane Gove (NJ-9) performed the honor of unveiling the country’s newest Blue Star Memorial.

The Retiring of The Colors by Vincentown American Legion member Frank Hicks completed the festivities.

Chris and Maryann invite everyone inside the library for light refreshments.

Susanne Abbiati and Gale Garfinkel unwrap goodies just before guests arrive.

Event Co-Chair Chris Vohden, who is also Chair of the Beach Haven Library Garden, made all the flower arrangements for the dedication.

At the end of the day, attendees left feeling grateful for the men and women who keep our country safe and free.