MIDDLETOWN – Nearly 1,500 pounds of supplies and snacks donated by locals are on their way to Afghanistan to USMC 1st Lt Nicholas Abbate.
The Middletown Support the Troops Program was reactivated in March to collect supplies for the township native and his 80-plus infantry unit. “The immediate outpouring of support from the community was impressive,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger. “Cases of ramen noodles, Girl Scout cookies, drink mixes, teas, toiletries and batteries were among the items donated by businesses, community groups, schools and families from Middletown and surrounding towns.”
Middletown shipped nearly three-quarters of a ton of supplies to 1st Lt Nicholas Abbate thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, community organizations, and individual donations. The Township Committee thanked the programs key supporters during the April meeting.
Two pairs of military-issue boot socks for every marine was included in the shipment thanks to the collaborative efforts of Middletown Elks 2179 and Lawrence Fuchs, a long-time resident who served nearly four years in the Marine Corps. The Elks Veterans Committee worked with Fuchs at his request to acquire the socks along with cases of snacks and toiletries. The Army & Navy Trading Hut, Keyport, provided the socks at a discounted rate in support of the collection drive. Fuchs, who has lived in Middletown since 1962, also supports the Marine Scholarship Foundation and Middletown Arts Center.
Area businesses, community groups, schools and township offices also organized their own collections. Regal Pointe Senior Living, Tonya Keller Bayshore Recreation Center, Emergency Management Office, St. James Elementary School and the Monmouth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution were among those who organized their won collections. Local Girl Scouts donated cases of their prized cookies.
”Equally as impressive as the mountain of donations is the dedication of the many volunteers who manage collect drives and undertake the Herculean task of readying tons of supplies for shipment overseas,” said Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger. Middletown is fortunate to have so many generous people willing to donate their time to help others.”
Key program supporters were commended at the April meeting commended for making the driving a resounding success. Middletown Supports the Troops is managed through the Office of Emergency Management with cooperation from the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. OEM volunteers gathered at the central collection point on the evening of April 6 at Parks and Recreation Offices at Croydon Hall to pack nearly 80 boxes. Middletown VFW 2179 donated the shipping costs. The supplies were shipped through the New Monmouth Post Office.
1st Lt Abbate, a weapons company platoon commander, and his 80-plus member infantry unit are dispersed throughout the Helmond Province. He’s a graduate of St. James Grammar School and Christian Brothers Academy. Abbate graduated in 2006 from the Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a minor in French and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2007 he graduated from the Basic School and was recognized on the Commanding General’s Honor Roll for superior achievement. After completing the Infantry Officer Course he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment Marines stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Abbate served a tour of duty in Iraq before heading to Afghanistan.
Approximately three tons of supplies generously donated by local businesses and families have been shipped to soldiers serving in the Middle East since 2007. Middletown’s Support the Troops Program, spearheaded by Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger, previously adopted paratroopers from Charlie Co., 1BSTB, 82nd Airborne Division during their 2007-2008 deployment to Iraq and Army Sgt. Eric McCoy, Delta Company, 404th Civil Affairs Battalion during his 2008-2009 deployment to Iraq.
A Marine Thanks the Folks Back Home
-a letter from 1st Lt. Abbate