As the stay-at-home order continues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local communities are finding innovative ways to celebrate special residents on their birthday while maintaining proper social distancing practices.
In North Bergen, the Police Department recently put together a very special surprise for a local 12-year-old on his birthday. Local police held a drive-by ceremony for Adrian earlier in the week.
Now, Bayonne is following suit with its own drive-by birthday celebration for an esteemed war veteran.
Mayor Jimmy Davis and Police Chief Robert Geisler announced that the Bayonne Police Department, the Bayonne Fire Department, and McCabe Ambulance held a ceremonial drive-by the home of World War II veteran Alfred Ponterdolph on April 20.
On that day, Ponterdolph celebrated his 98th birthday. He has lived on 29th Street for seventy years. Ponterdolph was born in Jersey City on April 20, 1922, according to the City of Bayonne.
In his youth, he lived on Hudson Boulevard and Seaview Avenue in Jersey City. When he registered for the draft during World War II, he was employed by the M.W. Kellogg Company in Jersey City.
“The City of Bayonne is proud to honor Mr. Ponterdolph on his 98th birthday,” Mayor Davis said. “He is one of the Hudson County heroes who fought for our freedom during World War II. We are happy to join with his family to salute him on this special occasion.”
During the war, he served in the U.S. Navy. Ponterdolph was one of the commissioning sailors on the USS Philip, a naval destroyer that was built in Kearny in 1942. He spent three years on the ship during the war. Ship records indicate that Mr. Ponterdolph held the ranks of Seaman Second Class and Radio Man Third Class while he served on the USS Philip.
Ponterdolph participated in major naval campaigns in the Pacific Theater of operations during World War II: the Solomon Islands Campaign from 1943 to 1944, the Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign in 1944, the Philippines Campaign from 1944 to 1945, and the Borneo Campaign in 1945.
“It is an honor for the Bayonne Police Department to help celebrate Mr. Ponterdolph’s birthday.” Chief Geisler said. “As a member of ‘The Greatest Generation’ and a WWII veteran, he and others like him are the reason we can enjoy our many freedoms. Happy Birthday, sir, and thank you for your service to our nation.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.