JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – A group of teens vandalized the Jackson Memorial Veterans Garden during the week, causing extensive damage to the memorial commemorating veterans of all wars.
The memorial consists of a pentagon-shaped memorial with flags of each branch of service circling an American flag. Another part of the memorial has a reflection pond and pillars in honor of each branch of service.
“We received a call from a concerned resident on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, stating they witnessed two juveniles at the Veterans Memorial Garden causing damage to the property,” said Ken Bressi, one of the founders of the memorial. “The two youths were throwing rocks at the custom engraved granite benches along with causing considerable damage to the pond; breaking off the cemented wall and throwing the large slate slabs in and around the pond.”
Bressi said the witness captured the event on video which has since been forwarded to the Jackson Township Police Department.
“The good Samaritans not only took photos and a video, they called the police and filed a report. We are so grateful to them and cannot thank them enough,” Bressi said. “We have followed up with the Police and have been told they have very clear pictures and video of the juveniles and are working on the case. We will also proceed in whatever is allowed by law to try to recover some of our losses. We are in the process of obtaining the cost of the damages.”
“Although these youths may not realize the meaning of the memorial, we are upset that they destroyed property that had been personalized for veterans’ families around the country and were so defiant while doing so,” he added. “The Veterans Memorial is a place for recollection, relaxation and peace. We realize this is a set back for moving forward with the progress of the site and we will work diligently to get the funds to correct the issue and continue on.”
Bressi said over the past 15 years working on the projects, all donations have gone towards the construction and maintenance of the memorial, adding there are no paid employees and all members are strictly volunteers.
Over the past few years, Bressi said COVID-19 has made things tough for the group, saying they were unable to host annual fundraisers and many people have fallen on hard times during the pandemic.
If you would like to learn more about the Veterans Memorial Garden please visit their website at jacksonvetsmemorial.com or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/VeteranMemorialGarden. To contact us directly please email firstname.lastname@example.org.