Hometown hero statue project advances in Wall

Michael Malone of Wall is spearheading the Wall PBA building of a new statue of World War II hero Harry Rockafeller that will be dedicated at the Wall Township Municipal Complex on Veterans Day. Malone poses with some of the Rockefeller memorabilia that his has amassed. (MARK R. SULLIVAN /THE COAST STAR)

WALL TOWNSHIP – A groundswell of support is growing for a plan to make sure future generations know about the courage and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, a 9-foot bronze statue will be unveiled, depicting World War II hero Harry J. “Rocky” Rockafeller, who lived here quietly for 70 years and died last August at age 100.

“He’s going to stand tall and proud. What he did was nothing short of amazing and heroic. He was a leader on the battlefield and leader at home,” said police Ptl. Michael Malone, who is spearheading the statue effort. Schoolchildren who may never have met a World War II veteran will be able to visit the site and learn about a hometown hero, he said.

Ptl. Malone, a history buff who befriended Mr. Rockafeller late in his life, and Wall Police Benevolent Association Local 234 set up a nonprofit, the Rockafeller Memorial Fund, which has raised $198,000 so far.

The support from local individuals and businesses has been overwhelming, Ptl. Malone said. Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, where Mr. Rockafeller was a trustee for more than 30 years, donated $50,000. Donations in the amount of $10,000 each were given by Saker ShopRite, the Allied Group, the John Brockriede family, Wall PBA 234 and the Earle Companies of Wall Township.

Donations can be made online by visiting www.rockafellermemorial.com. Be sure to watch the video. A link to the website can be found at www.wallpba.com. Check donations can be written to the Rockafeller Memorial or Wall Twp. PBA Civic Association [with Rockafeller in the memo section] and mailed to the PBA at PO Box 1332, Wall, NJ 07719.

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