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People on the Move: Maureen Doloughty
05/06/2008 - By Teja Anderson
Maureen Doloughty has worked for the township of Holmdel for 21 years, and for the past 11 years has served as township clerk...Maureen Doloughty has worked for the township of Holmdel for 21 years, and for the past 11 years has served as township clerk. She has also served as president of the Municipal Clerks Association for 2 years (in 2006 and 2007), and is currently a member of their legal defense team. Maureen has three children. Her daughter Jill is a manager at Chili’s in Edison; son Matthew is a teacher of advanced placement economics in Freehold Borough, and her other son, Sean Shepherd, is a sergeant serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. For many years Maureen was the Key Volunteer Coordinator for Sean’s unit. Because she knows what a great town Holmdel is to work for, and because she knows firsthand the hardships and homesickness that soldiers stationed overseas must endure, Maureen decided to make things a bit more personal. She is fully aware of how nostalgic these men and women are for their families, homes, and country, so Maureen was inspired to do something special for the American soldiers stationed in Iraq. Her efforts and inspiration have snowballed into a true story of community participation and support. It was mostly through her dedication over the past year that the township and the Holmdel Board of Education decided to adopt the members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion Special Troops Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. They picked this important group of soldiers to form a relationship with because, under the leadership of Captain Vincent Boncich, this particular troop has tried especially hard to make a positive, lasting impression on the people of Iraq, especially the children.
The idea for this far-reaching project was hatched by Maureen, who, together with several like-minded volunteers, reached out to the town on Community Day, where they were able to collect their first major influx of donations. The “Pen Pal Program” now includes Holmdel residents as well as township students who write letters to members of the paratrooper unit; they also send photos and ship items – everything from Ziploc baggies to fabric softener (used to ward off gnats) – gathered from various collection drives for the unit’s members. They have sent over numerous items for a local Iraqi school in Al Haji Abbas that was adopted by the Alpha Company. This school, comprised of what Maureen guesses to be first through sixth graders, is in need of everything: crayons, backpacks, paper, and pencils…all of the basics that our schoolchildren take for granted. When Maureen proudly displays photographs showing a sea of happy faces, taken by Alpha Company at the school, one is struck by the fact that, if it wasn’t for the American soldiers dressed in full military gear standing with them, they would look just like the kids in most classrooms in America…smiling and waving to the camera.
When asked who pays for all the items to be shipped to Iraq, Maureen is quick to give credit not only to the town, but to the post office right next door. “Dan at the post office has been so helpful,” she said. “They see me coming and I know they are shaking their heads, but they take it all and get it wrapped up and ship it [for me]. They have just been so wonderful and accommodating.”
Another important part of this project was the tour of the State of New Jersey flag that the Alpha Company flew over Camp Adder in Iraq during the month of September. “Captain Vincent Boncich flew the flag at Camp Adder during September, and then he packaged it with a certificate and sent it back to us,” Doloughty explained. The flag was first raised at the town hall and then flown at each of the Holmdel public schools, as each school participated in the donation drive. Now Maureen proudly keeps it in her office awaiting its framing, whereupon it will be placed on permanent display along with many of the letters and photos from the project.
Although Maureen has been in close contact (mostly by e-mail) with Captain Boncich throughout this endeavor, she has yet to meet him, but plans are in the works. You can bet that with a community made up of people like the folks here in Holmdel, the young men and women of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion Special Troops Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division can look forward to a warm, grateful, and heartfelt welcome home!
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