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Holly Club Of Sea Girt “Operation Azaleas”

The beautiful sea of azaleas that border Crescent Park in Sea Girt each spring are in need of a little TLC. 

This beloved garden with its bounteous azalea display was planted beginning in 1968 by the father of LTC Joseph T. Kearns a living memorial to the first young man from Sea Girt to be lost in the VietNam War. 

Joseph T. Kearns Jr. entered the US Air Force where he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC).  He was listed as missing in action on June 3, 1967 after flying recognizance over North VietNam.  

Sadly, Sea Girt also lost John W. Ciallella who enlisted in the US Marine Corps in October 1967 and attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL). On November 17, 1968, at the age of 19, Ciallella was killed in action in South Vietnam.  According to reports, John was killed when the vehicle he was riding in went off an embankment during action in Quang Tri Province near the Demilitarized Zone.  

Over the years this living memorial has become overgrown with weeds and is in need of general maintenance. The Holly Club Of Sea Girt’s “Operation Azaleas” Committee works diligently to maintain and enhance this living memorial.


If you would like to make a donation to Holly Club of Sea Girt including the preservation of this Living Memorial, please visit


The Holly Club of Sea Girt thanks partner William Errickson of Rutgers (Email: for his advice on clean-up and soil preparation and the NJ VietNam Memorial organization.


For more information contact Diane Raver

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