Staff Sergeant Joseph Kuprel Jr., who resided in Secaucus, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941, just before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
The military discharged Kuprel in July 1945. He passed away in 1967.
Councilman William McKeever and Mayor Michael Gonnelli gave Kuprel's daughter Jeanne a town proclamation for her father's service. Kuprel's grandchildren and great-grandchildren were also in attendance for the honor.
McKeever helped Jeanne by applying to the National Records Center in St. Louis in June 2015 for Kuprel’s records. Once the NRC confirmed Kuprel’s records, they contacted The Mint in Philadelphia to engrave and send the medals to Jeanne a few weeks ago. She presented them to McKeever after they arrived.
He located a shadow box to properly present them to her and her family at the meeting.
The medals included a Bronze Star Medal, WWII Victory Medal, European – African – Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the American Defense Service Medal.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell also delivered a letter via an assistant. “I am pleased to present this letter of special congressional recognition, in appreciation of the many valuable contributions that your father made to the United States,” the letter read. “I have no doubt that your father served this country honorably, and will forever be recognized as a hero and remembered for all his contributions to the war effort.”
“I'd like to thank the town, my town, the mayor, the council for giving my father the recognition he so deserves,” Jeanne said, with tears. “He finally got it, 50 years after his death. I'll be grateful to you for all my life.”
“I'd like to thank the town, my town, the mayor, the council for giving my father the recognition he so deserves.” – Jeanne
The Secaucus Food Pantry is requesting canned vegetable donations for September. Residents can drop the items at the Senior Center, located at 101 Centre Ave., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are needy, contact the pantry as well. Call 201-330-2014 for more information.
Children's Bingo Night will take place Sept. 15 at the Senior Center at 6 p.m. First through eighth grade students are welcome; adult supervision is mandatory. Call the same number for more information.
The Immaculate Conception Church will be holding its annual feast on Sept. 8 through 10. The event will feature games, a beer garden, money wheel, children's rides, and food. The church is located at 1219 Paterson Plank Rd.
Lastly, the town will be holding a ceremony at the Secaucus Public Library on Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m. to honor 9/11 victims. The library is located at 1379 Paterson Plank Rd.
Also at the meeting, Councilman Robert Constantino presented a copy of the town's 2016 audit. Each town hires an auditing firm to review their finances and financial controls, and make suggestions for improvement.
“Based off the audit that they [accounting company Bowman and Company] conducted, it is their opinion that our financial statements present fairly, in all our material with respects to assets, liabilities, and reserves,” Constantino said. “What I'm happiest about is that we've put priority on all these financial statements and budgets, and we hit deadlines, early in the year, to have these done timely. Prior to us [current administration], I think they were finished much later.”
The audits are useful for determining bond ratings and managing capital projects.
Public speaking portion
During the portion of the meeting for residents to speak out, former Board of Education member and present candidate Tom Troyer complained that he believes the mayor is interfering in school board hiring, an issue he broached at previous meetings (see Jul. 30 cover story). For comparison, he brought up an unrelated situation in 1986 in which he believed different town officials influenced a Zoning Board decision.
“What does this have to do with anything?” Councilman Robert Constantino asked. “Your first point was the [schools] superintendent. Then you went around the block about, I don’t know, 15 years.”
“I’m correlating what happened!” Troyer shot back.
Troyer also compared present politicians to the past, calling them “clowns.”
“Tom, did you go to the [Board of Education] and call them clowns personally?” Councilman James Clancy asked.
“I will do that at the next meeting,” Troyer said. “They know my feelings towards them, and I know their feelings towards me.”
Hannington Dia can be reached at email@example.com