Area residents to be honored by Elks Veterans Committee

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BELLEVILLE, NJ — The North Central District Elks Veterans Committee will honor William Michael of the West Orange Elks lodge as Veteran of the Year on Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the Chandelier in Belleville. Additionally, Tommy Fresco of South Orange will be honored as the North Central District Elks Special Children’s Committee Person of the Year.

The March 30 event will be a murder mystery, and will include a buffet dinner, open bar, 50-50 raffle and a DJ for dancing. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 16; contact Chris Brown at for further details. All proceeds will go to the North Central District Elks Veterans and Special Children’s fund.

Michael proudly served in the United States Marine Corp. from 1955 to 1963. He was stationed mainly in the reserves at lake Denmark, a section of Picatinny. He was honorably discharged, having attained the rank of lance corporal. Michael was married to the late Joyce Rittmeyer of Orange and the couple had one son, Bill, who married Carmen. Michael is the proud grandfather of Stephany and Matthew. Michael has been an Elk for 43 years. He has held many chairs in the order such as treasurer, leading knight, exalted ruler, NCD vice president, credentials for the state, state trustee and has achieved the ENF Faith level. He is currently the District Americanism chairperson and the deputy representative for VAVS. He also produces his lodge’s newsletter, is an NCD Ritual judge and a past Elk of the Year. As an active committee person for NCD Special Children’s Committee, he does whatever is needed to help put a smile on the faces of children. He works tirelessly for the Veterans Committee, and attends all fundraisers, meetings and picnics.

At the age of 7, Fresco, along with his brother, Carl, and parents, Frank and Debbie, was introduced to Elks Camp Moore through his school teacher. His parents were a bit apprehensive at first of the idea of a sleepover camp, but when they walked into the cabin after camp to retrieve Fresco, he promptly announced he was not coming home and ran out the back door of the cabin. This was the beginning of Fresco becoming the independent soul he is today. In 2015, the boys were home alone and there was a house fire. Fresco took control and got himself, Carl and the family dog out of the house safely and called the fire department. The South Orange Elks recognized Fresco for his actions and bravery on that day, as did the South Orange Fire Department and Lions Club. Fresco is also an active participant in the JESPY House in South Orange. In 2018 he was honored with the Essex County Area 9 Athlete of the Year Award by the Special Olympics of NJ for being part of the Special Olympics bocce ball team.

Photos Courtesy of Chris Brown