South Brunswick holds first veteran street sign dedication ceremony

South Brunswick held its first veteran street naming on June 13, affixing a secondary street sign at the intersection of New Road and Pyne Road in honor of Emil Bonagura.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Doing a Google search of “Emil Bonagura” and “Library of Congress” leads one to a 15-minute video from the Veterans History Project that details the U.S. Army corporal’s service during World War II with the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division, in France, Germany and Austria.

Much closer to home, Bonagura celebrated the naming of a street in his honor on June 13 at the intersection of New Road and Pyne Road in front of family, friends, dignitaries, South Brunswick police officers and members of Kendall Park VFW Post 9111.

The Kendall Park resident served from 1943-46, receiving a Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal and a Good Conduct Medal.

“I thank you, everyone, for doing this,” Bonagura said after the unveiling of the sign for Bonagura Way, which was done by his youngest son, Greg. “I am really very very deeply gratified. … For the township to recognize a veteran who resides in this county is a very very good thing.”

“This is a very proud day for our family to be recognized,” Greg said.

Bob Kelly, commander of the VFW post, said he received a call earlier this year from Ron Schmalz, the township’s public information officer, about naming a street after a township veteran. Bonagura was a natural choice for the township’s first honorary street naming.

“Emil has been a member of VFW Post 9111 here in South Brunswick for over 20 years. He is actively involved in the Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy, where students from eighth through 12th grade write essays each year about the important subjects meaningful to the VFW. … Emil is a trustee in our VFW and never misses a meeting,” Kelly said.

Mayor Charles Carley read a proclamation for Bonagura, noting he was born in 1924 in Brooklyn, New York; enlisted in the Army during World War II; and was honorably discharged from the military on March 27, 1946.

“I thank you for your service, and we’re to celebrate that service,” Carley said.

Contact Jennifer Amato at [email protected].