This year’s recipient to be welcomed with a surprise parade Tuesday afternoon
By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – American Legion Post #469 of Longport is gearing up to welcome its 11th Wounded Warrior Week recipient Tuesday, Sept. 20. Banners honoring most of the previous recipients of a complimentary weeklong vacation in Longport were erected this week along Oberon Avenue, and several homes are already displaying patriotic bunting and American flags.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Trevor Brunell, who was medically discharged from the Army in August due to the injuries he sustained in Afghanistan, and his wife Kara will be arriving in Longport from their home in Columbus, Georgia, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. They know they will be enjoying an all-expense-paid vacation, but they don’t know about the welcoming parade that will greet them as they travel in a white stretch convertible limousine through Ventnor, Margate and Longport.
“We’re only missing the name of our first Wounded Warrior in 2012 – Sgt. Gabe Orozco, U.S. Army,” veteran Frank D’Alonso said in a statement. “We weren’t able to track him down to get his permission for a banner to be made.”
Another Wounded Warrior Week recipient from 2019, Joseph Hahn, declined being recognized on a banner “so we don’t have a banner for him,” D’Alonzo said.
Wounded Warrior Week recipients, who are selected for the honor by their respective military service branches, include:
2012 – Sgt. Gabe Orozco
2013 – SSG Adam Alexander
2014 – Lt. Andrew Dow
2015 – Cpl. Patrick Matisi
2016 – MSGT Kristopher Parker
2017 – SFC Angeleek Courtney
2018 – EODC Adam Fleck
2019 – SO-1 Joseph Hahn
2020 – SFC Richard Stayskill
2021 – Maj. Todd Berios
2022 – SSG Trevor Brunell
The American Legion started its Wounded Warrior Week program in 2012 after Legionaire Donal Sheahan came up with the idea of providing a wounded service member with a much needed vacation at the Jersey shore. Since then, several generous residents have allowed the wounded warriors and their families to stay in their beach-block homes, and local businesses have provided the funding for dinners, shows, boating outings and more. Even the refrigerator is stocked with breakfast foods, snacks and adult refreshments. The week usually ends with a formal military styled service with dignitaries providing remarks of gratitude along with a luncheon for the recipients and contributors.
After a greeting from Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman, the welcoming motorcade will leave Ventnor Plaza shopping center at 5:30 p.m. led by the American Legion Riders on their Harley motorcycles. The parade route travels Wellington Avenue, Dorset Avenue and Atlantic Avenue through Ventnor, Margate and to their beach-block vacation home in Longport.
Residents of Downbeach communities are asked to line the parade route to cheer for Brunell and his wife wearing patriotic colors, waving American flags and holding handmade posters thanking him for his service to the nation.
Although light rain has not been ruled out for Tuesday, the week promises excellent weather for the vacationing couple.
As Mayor Nicholas Russo always says, “It’s always sunny and 80 in Longport.”
Any changes to the schedule will be announced on the Downbeach.com Facebook page and the Borough of Longport website, longportnj.gov.
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