Watchung Rescue Squad

Watchung Rescue Squad's 27th Annual Tree of Lights Festival

On Saturday, December 2nd, the 27th Annual Tree of Lights once again lit up the Village Green.

The Rescue Squad is proud to illuminate the holiday tree, and thanks to Garden State Fireworks, the skies were lit with a spectacular fireworks show.  You can still be part of the celebration by placing a red light on our tree in honor of or white in remembrance of a person, family, friends and others. 

The names of honorees and remembrances will be posted on the illuminated display on the Village Green as well as on our website.  The display and our website will be continually updated throughout the holiday season.  The dedications can be seen below.

To place a light on the tree, please complete the Dedication Order Form and mail it along with your tax-deductible donation of $50.00 per light in the envelope provided.

Your contribution to the Tree of Lights is not only a symbol of your feelings of gratitude and love, but also serves to help the Watchung Volunteer Rescue Squad with major endeavors.  This year, through the generosity of the residents and businesses, the squad continues to provide high-quality, excellent Emergency Service.  Thank you in advance for your continued support and contributions.

To learn more about the Squad contact us at captain@watchungems.org or call (908) 755-1297.  For information about becoming a member, click on Join Us and email membership@watchungems.org with any questions!


The members of the Watchung Rescue Squad dedicate this year's Tree of Lights in recognition of two Watchung residents, Henry Long and Dr. William Ripley, who dedicated their lives to serving their communities and country.

 

WATCHUNG RESCUE SQUAD TREE OF LIGHTS 2017 RECIPIENTS


2017 TREE OF LIGHTS HONORS

  • Ackerman, Don
  • Bitenas Family
  • Braulke, George & Jean
  • Breitbart, Gary
  • Burner, Douglas
  • Campbell Family
  • Chen, Jing
  • Cocchiara Family
  • Cua, Lorenzo
  • DelVento Family
  • DeParto Family
  • DiGiacomo Family
  • Dolly Family
  • Dunham, Patricia
  • Dy, Juanita
  • Falanga, Joe & Lynn
  • Fine Family
  • Gatti, Joseph
  • Gerus, Barbara & Harry
  • Goldman Family
  • Gulamerian, Mary & Norman
  • Harding, Louis
  • Hauck Family
  • Heyman, Jay
  • Huska & Molitoris Families
  • Infosino, Paula
  • Juette, Frieda
  • Kapoor, Dr. L. D.
  • Kapoor, Prakash
  • Kennedy Family
  • Krieger, Soloman & Jean
  • Lubin, Joel
  • Mattiassi Family
  • McCumber, J & B Grandchildren
  • McDonald, Whaley Family
  • Monetti, Dottie
  • Motta Family
  • Nakhamkin Family
  • Parone, Lisa
  • Petrock Family
  • Peixoto Family

  • Price, Isabel & Alfred
  • Pote Family
  • Reddy, Vineeta
  • Ruckriegel, Helen J.
  • Savatta Family
  • Schachter, Michael
  • Schlotterbeck Family
  • Schuman Family
  • Scotti, Don
  • Scrima, Mildred
  • Skowronski, Jeff & Margeret
  • Speeney Family
  • Staeger, Paul C.
  • Steinmetz Family
  • Tomasso Family
  • Watchung Boy Scout Troop 32
  • Watchung Rescue Squad
  • Watkins Family
  • Whaley M. Donald Family
  • Wunner Family


 2017 TREE OF LIGHTS REMEMBRANCES

  • Addario, Mayor Anthony F.
  • Addario, Cody, Sam & Sugar
  • Arthur, David & Bill III
  • Arthur, William & Annette
  • Aslidis, Haralampos
  • Aylward, Eileen
  • Bailey, Dot & Bob
  • Baker, Brian
  • Barrett, Ralph & Ruth
  • Bell, Pat
  • Bennet, Capt. Gordon W.
  • Beyer, Dorothy “Dottie”
  • Blumberg, Sandra (2)
  • Bori, Anna
  • Brunskill, Angela & Trevor
  • Buccarelli, Sally
  • Burke, Charles R.
  • Butta, Rosanna
  • Carlough, Billy
  • Celiberti, Anna & Vincent
  • Chalker, David
  • Confort, Philip
  • Conte, Dr. Ferdinanao
  • Cooper, Reginald
  • Cowan, Thomas & Marion
  • Diem, Fred
  • DeVito, Raphael
  • DeVito, William & Yolanda
  • DiNardi, Alfred
  • Dworak, Winnie
  • Fechtner, Jerome
  • Flood, Paul, Bruce & Wayne
  • Flower, Henry
  • Gargano, John Jr.
  • Gerome Family
  • Geron Family
  • Glasser, George & Elizabeth
  • Goutson, Panagiota
  • Greenberg, Jerry
  • Greves, Nancy
  • Hanlon, Helene & Kenneth
  • Hastrup, Lynne
  • Haywood, Ivan E. Sr.
  • Hetem, Charles J.
  • Hess, Barbara L.
  • Hillman, Richard
  • Ianniello, Paul
  • Ingrassia, Christopher Noble
  • Kania, Michael & Anne
  • Karanagh, Jack
  • Kriznansky, Elaine
  • Kriznansky, Milan & Martha
  • Loh, C.S. & Irene
  • Long, Henry (3)
  • Malchow, Sylvia
  • Martinson, Rusty
  • Mauro, George “Chip” Jr.
  • McCreery, Alan
  • McCumber-Anderten -Loving Parents
  • Miller, Patricia & Jack
  • Muscolino, Matthew
  • Nielsen, Gyda R.
  • Nunn, Carrol & Leroy
  • Nutto, Carol June
  • O’Brien, Robert
  • O’Keefe, David F.
  • Pennett Family Members

  • Pedersen, Michael
  • Penn, Jack
  • Peterson, Arlene
  • Puleo Family
  • Rebmann, Alfred
  • Roman, Irene
  • Romano, Charles & Marie
  • Rybkiewicz, Denis
  • Scarano, Vincent
  • Schaa, Fred
  • Schaa, Paul
  • Schley, Donald
  • Schley, Mary Catherine
  • Sherman, Max
  • Soranno, Jack & Frances
  • Smith, David & Mildred
  • Smith, Ginny
  • Smith, Virginia L.
  • Spingler, Rick
  • Stahl, Bruno & Barbara
  • Stransky, Danielle
  • Titus, Bill
  • Townsend, Jim & Anne
  • Walters, Anastasia
  • Waltz, Mary
  • Weber, Max P.
  • Weiss, Jack & Elaine
  • West, Sondra Lee
  • Wheeler, Dit & Wink
  • Whitting, Phillip
  • Wolford, Mildred & Harry
  • Wolinsky, David
  • Woodruff, H. Boyd
  • Woodruff, Jeanette

2017 TREE OF LIGHTS BUSINESS HONORS

  • Angelo “C” Plumbing
  • Baby Grand Entertainment
  • Garden State Fireworks
  • Precision Tree Service
  • Rolf’s Restaurant
  • Schmiede Tree Service
  • Watchung Fire Department
  • Watchung PBA
  • Watchung Police Department
  • Watchung Public Works

Henry Long

The members of the Rescue Squad, reflecting on 27 years of the Tree of Lights, dedicate this year’s tree to a resident of Watchung, WWII veteran, and successful developer and builder, who spent his life working to serve and better his community.  Born in Plainfield, NJ, Henry Long resided in North Plainfield, before moving to Watchung. He served on the North Plainfield Planning Board and was inducted into the Plainfield Hall of Fame.

Henry proudly served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 15th Air Force, in World War II, setting the Air Force flying record by completing 50 combat missions in 65 days. He volunteered and was selected to fly in the lead plane on a Top Secret Classified Mission into Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia to support the Slovak National Uprising.  His crew landed behind enemy lines to deliver weapons, medical supplies, and communication equipment to Slovak partisans and to carry out downed allied flyers and members of the Czechoslovak government in exile. The unloading operation and the boarding of rescued personnel took place while under fire from German troops, but all aboard were safely delivered back into allied hands. This heroic act earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as honor and recognition by the government of the Slovak Republic after the war, receiving honorary citizenship by the President of Slovakia. 

Henry’s dedication to service and belief in social justice continued through his successful career as a developer and builder, always considering how his projects could benefit and improve the community, whether it be affordable homes, apartment or professional buildings, or commercial properties. It is with great honor that this year’s Tree of Lights shall be dedicated to his memory.


Dr. William H. Ripley

On the 27th Anniversary of the first Tree of Lights ceremony, the members of the Watchung Rescue Squad dedicate this year’s tree to a former squad member and resident of Watchung, veteran, and chiropractor, who sought to better his community through his work and volunteerism.  Born in Elizabeth, NJ, Bill Ripley grew up in Warren Township and attended North Plainfield High School. After graduation, Bill served in the United States Army being stationed in Guam.


Upon returning home, Bill attended the Palmer School of Chiropractic, graduating in 1951, and moved back to New Jersey where he partnered with family to open practices first in Plainfield, then in South Plainfield.  After several years of the partnerships, Bill moved his family and business to Watchung where he opened a solo practice. Bill was a pioneer in the applied science of Kinesiology and drew great satisfaction in bringing healing to his patients through holistic, nutritional and Chiropractic approaches.


After retiring from his full time practice in 1997 and eventually relocating to Whiting, Bill continued to provide Chiropractic care as well as exercise and wellness classes to seniors throughout the retirement communities in the area.  He was also very active in numerous professional and service organizations over the years, including the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors, Wilson Memorial Union Church, the Watchung Rescue Squad, the Watchung Optimist Club and various local Optimist Clubs throughout Ocean County, Oceanaires Barbershop Chorus, New Life Church, and America's Keswick.  It is with great honor that this year’s Tree of Lights shall be dedicated to his memory.

 

History of the Tree of Lights and the "Original Tree Three"

Twenty-five years ago, Judie McCumber came back from a vacation on Martha's Vineyard and told the Squad she saw a great idea that we could use as a fundraiser - a Tree of Lights where residents could place a light on the tree for a donation.  She convinced then Captain, Shirley Cattabiani and Diddy Addario, President that it was worth pursuing.  Never mind that there was no Village Green or no tree in the gravel parking lot by the lake.  With Judie's persistence, Shirley's "can solve any problem" attitude and Diddy handling the town fathers for permission, a tree was brought it, set in a base and strung with lights.  The annual Tree of Lights was born.

Based on Judie's suggestion, the "original tree three" created a winter festival and fundraiser for the Rescue Squad that has become ingrained as a Watchung tradition.  The annual Tree of Lights ceremony originally took place every year on December 7th in honor of Pearl Harbor Day and in recognition of all those who lost their lives on that day and all the members of our armed forces who gave their lives fighting for our freedom.  Over time out of necessity, it was moved to the first Saturday of December.  For a donation your loved ones would be honored or remembered on the tree.  Red and white lights were placed on the tree: red in honor and white in remembrance.

Through the years, many others have kept the Tree of Lights going through their dedication and support, and we thank everyone who has participated either through their contributions in organizing and setting up the event, attending the lighting ceremony or making a donation for helping keep the tradition alive!