East Orange salutes its veterans in ceremony

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — The city of East Orange honored the sacrifices and courage of its veterans during its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, recognizing two special honorees: East Orange Fire Capt. Stanley E. White, who was bestowed the Stanley E. Costley Award for the Highest Ranking City Veteran, and Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training workforce developer David Sharp, who was bestowed the Earl Williams Award for Most Active Resident City Veteran.

The ceremony’s guest speaker was retired Army 1st Sgt. and Master Sgt. Garrett Winn Sr., who was recently honored as a grand marshal during the city’s 2021 Memorial Day ceremony.

White was born at East Orange General Hospital and went to East Orange Public Schools, graduating from East Orange High School. Following graduation, White enlisted in the U.S. Army, and completed basic combat training at Fort Dix and advanced individual training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for Military Occupational Specialty 44B Metalworking.

Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Clayton, Panama; and Fort Bliss, Texas, White served in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the Middle East. During his service, White received an Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Marksman Badges, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.

As a fire captain, White uses his leadership skills in a variety of fields in the fire service to elevate his team. White currently serves as a trustee for the East Orange Fire Officers Association, FMBA Local 223, and as a trustee for Born to Rise Foundation Inc., a community-based nonprofit organization founded by his 19-year-old daughter, Shaniyah J. White.

Sharp, a graduate of New Jersey schools, served three years in the U.S. Army as a tactical communications system mechanic/operator. He was awarded the U.S. Army Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and Certificate of Achievement during a tour in Korea. After an honorable discharge, Sharp continued his education in computer science and multimedia production at DeVry University and Northampton Community College.

Sharp’s professional experiences include a wide range of positions in the corporate sector, private industry and adult vocational education sphere. In New Jersey, he has served as program developer and instructor at Candace Enterprises in Plainfield, was a research applications developer with Hoechst Celanese Corporation in Summit, and a project manager of multimedia training applications at Physician Computer Network in Morris Plains. As a certified Macromedia trainer for Macromedia Products and a multimedia specialist, Sharp consulted with major corporations frequently, most notably with Prudential Corp. in Dresher, Pa. and Boeing Corp. in St. Louis, Mo.

Today, Sharp is a workforce developer for Mayor Ted Green’s Office of Employment and Training. In this role, Sharp is responsible for planning, managing and evaluating career training and support services associated with the unemployed, under-employed and at-risk East Orange youths and residents.

Winn, who is originally from Virginia, postponed his education to join the U.S. Army in 1965, serving tours of duty in Korea from 1965 to 1966 and Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, earning several medals and commendations while achieving the rank of staff sergeant at the age of 20. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1971 and joined the New Jersey Army National Guard in 1977, attaining the rank of first sergeant/master sergeant. Winn was assigned to the G2 Section 50th Armored Division, and later Joint Forces Headquarters Operation Center for Domestic Emergencies and Terrorism.

After Sept. 11, 2001, he returned to full-time active duty; his last assignment was for the Homeland Security Center of Excellence, where he was the operations sergeant and the noncommissioned officer in charge for the Nuclear Power Plant Task Force and the Port Authority Railroad Security, New Jersey side. Winn is a certified Army instructor and holds five different military occupational specialties. He retired in December 2007.

Some of his federal honors include a Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, an Army Expeditionary Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, two National Defense Medals, a Vietnam Service Medal, a Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Korean Service Medal. Upon completion of active duty in 1968, Winn was employed by the East Orange Post Office before getting hired by the East Orange Fire Department in 1971. 

Being one of only two African Americans in the EOFD at that time, Winn fought discrimination by educating himself and attending Essex County College and Bloomfield College. He joined the Vulcan Pioneers of the Newark Fire Department and the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, helping minorities to be hired, properly trained and promoted. Winn retired from the East Orange Fire Department at the rank of deputy fire chief in 2000.

Photos Courtesy of East Orange City Hall