It took 10 volunteers to lift, push and guide a 50-foot flagpole and two other 40-foot flagpoles into place for a memorial that is nearly completed at the new Madison Recreation Center.
The installation of the flagpoles Thursday afternoon capped weeks of volunteer labor by Madison police officers, water and electric personnel, firefighters, road department workers and the borough construction official to erect the flag memorial.
The memorial is dedicated to Madison veterans, police officers, firefighters and EMTs whose passion was coaching and mentoring Rose City youth, said Office Joseph Longo, who coordinated the project.
The project was funded by Florham Park/Madison American Legion Post No. 43, Madison PBA Local 92, Madison FMBA Local 74, the and the .
The volunteer crew spent afternoons after working hours digging foundations and conduit trenches, building forms and pouring concrete in order to complete the project in time for the official opening of the center on Opening Day on Saturday, Longo said.
American Legion members are expected be on hand to present the colors Saturday.
Longo credited several community members with donating materials and services toward the project:
- Local contractor Peter DeRosa of Hawk Services helped with the excavating work.
- John Morris and Ginger Lein of of Kings Road donated the flags and provided other material at cost.
- And the project will be finished with landscaping and a retaining wall donated by Joseph Caruso of Caruso Landscaping.
The memorial features three flags: a 50-foot flagpole that displays the U.S. and POW/MIA flags, in between two 40-foot flagpoles, one with a Rose City flag, and the other with a Dodgers flag.
A bronze plaque will be erected remembering those who served the U.S. or provided safety to residents and also coached sports. The bronze plaque will be affixed to a rock donated by Mr. McCann of Green Avenue, Longo said.
Longo said building the memorial showed him anything can be done, a lesson he often heard from the father of Jim Finelli, a volunteer firefighter and water department employee who served as project manager for the memorial.
"You may need money. You may need the right people. But anything can be done," Longo said. "These guys are talented. They can do anything."