Thursday, November 10th, 2011

For the past 12 years, the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders has been recognizing the county’s wartime veterans by presenting them or their family members with the Morris County Distinguished Service Medal.

In 2006, the Morris County Veterans Services Office began to prepare biographical information on approximately 350 of the medal recipients, and this historical information, along with photos, has now been consolidated in notebooks, which are available for review at the Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans office, 340 W. Hanover Ave., in Morris Township.

Theresa Davis, director of the division, and Charles Jurgensen, the county’s veteran services officer, said compiling the notebooks will keep the memories and the deeds of medal recipients alive for future generations.

The freeholders started the recognition program in 1999 when they began awarding commemorative medals to Morris County veterans, living or deceased, who participated in the 1944 D-Day invasion and the liberation of France from German occupation. Since then, the freeholders have expanded the program to veterans who have served during conflicts from World War II to today’s war against terrorism.

To be eligible, an individual may be a current or former Morris County resident, but did not have to live in the county during his or her time of active duty. A veteran must have received an honorable discharge, and discharge papers will be required for proof of service.

The medal is distinctive to Morris County, with the county seal encircled with the words, “Morris County Distinguished Military Service,” on the front. An outline of the county and the American flag is on the back of the medal, along with the words, “Morris County Freeholders Military Commemorative.”

Each medal’s striped ribbon is the color of the specific conflict during which the veteran served.

Veterans or their family members must register with the Morris County Veterans Services Office at 973-285-6866.