CLOSTER, N.J. – A rededication ceremony for the memorial to Lt. Donald A. Mollicone, a borough resident who died in Vietnam, is scheduled for noon on May 29.
Located in Mollicone Park, the memorial was recently refurbished by Jason Lee, 17, who completed the project, in part, to become an Eagle Scout, according to a statement announcing the rededication.
Lee’s efforts brought three new commemorative kiosks to the memorial, a flagpole and a walk-in area for visitors, according to the statement, which noted that Lee enlisted the help of local businesses and fellow Boy Scouts to complete his task.
“When I started this project, I believed that Lt. Mollicone's memorial needed to be refurbished because it was not a respectful representation of why he is remembered today,” Lee said. “His service means the world not only to me, but to the millions of other Americans who get to enjoy all of the freedoms provided in this great country. I am honored to be able to fix this memorial in dedication to a fallen hero.”
Mollicone’s brother, Richard A. Mollicone, lives in Texas and is unable to travel to New Jersey for the weekend’s ceremony. He did, however, offer a statement on behalf of his family.
“Don embodied the tenets of scouting, believing the three promises of the Scout Oath and living the twelve points of the Scout Law well beyond his years in scouting,” the statement said. “He gave back what he learned, as a scout leader and mentor. Don carried his beliefs into adulthood during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy and his service in the U.S. Air Force. Don was a ‘good guy’ and our country is poorer for his untimely demise.”
Visitors to the park can read a full biography of Lt. Donald Mollicone, who was 26 when he died in 1963, on one of the new kiosks. The park was named in his honor in 1969.
Lee is the second member of his family to earn the Eagle Scout distinction; his brother previously earned the honor, according to the Boy Scouts.
Scoutmaster Eric Mattes said Lee is a “great example of the exceptional young men Closter Troop 63 has produced since the troop was charted in 1917.”
“He is our 70th Eagle Scout and we are all very proud of his achievement,” Mattes continued. “Mollicone Park is a popular spot for local families and now visitors will better understand who Lt. Mollicone was and why it is so important to remember him and honor the sacrifice he made.”
In addition to Lee, the May 29 rededication is to be attended by Closter Mayor John Glidden, Closter Recreation Commission Director Jim Oettinger and Joseph Organo from the American Legion, who are all scheduled to speak.
Mollicone Park is located on Knickerbocker Road at Eckerson Avenue. Closter Police Chief Dennis Kaine has requested that all who attend park their cars on Whitney Street or Eckerson Avenue to avoid crossing Knickerbocker Road.