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World War II Vet to Receive Award for Lifetime of Service

Doug Denman, a lifelong Essex County resident, will receive the S.M. 'Sam' Kent Service Above Self Award next month.

Doug Denman (Contributed photo)
Doug Denman (Contributed photo)
A World War II veteran and Grover Cleveland High School grad will be recognized next month for his lifetime of service to his country and the Essex County communities he's lived.

Doug Denman, a Roseland resident who previously lived in North Caldwell for 40 years, will receive the S.M. "Sam" Kent Service Above Self Award from the Rotary Club of the Caldwells on June 24 at the Hanover Manor.

Denman, who will turn 89 in July, was born in Montclair, attended St. Aloysius School and enlisted in the U.S. Army when he graduated from Grover Cleveland in 1943.

As a member of the 95th Infantry Division, Denman fought in France and Germany where he was wounded in the Battle of Metz. He was later released when the Americans captured Metz.

Denman married his high school sweetheart, Elaine Burgio, in 1945 while he was still in the army. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, European-African-Middle East Medal with three battle stars, the Medal of Metz, the Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal and the Order of St. Maurice by the National Infantry Association.

After being discharged, Denman earned an accounting degree from Seton Hall University. He worked for three years at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., and then with his father-in-law, Salvatore Burgio at S.A. Burgio Inc.

Denman worked at the West Caldwell tire firm for 35 years before he and his wife became sole owners of the business.

The couple sold the business in 1985 and Denman worked for the next five years at CTI Group in Livingston and then as an assistant treasurer at Mount Saint Dominic Academy.

Denman has also been a constant figure in community service, spearheading an effort to obtain veterans housing in Caldwell and was an active member of the Young Republican County Committee, served as a councilman for six years in North Caldwell and as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment for more than 20 years.

Denman, who still serves on the Affordable Housing Council in Roseland, is a past president of the Caldwell-West Caldwell Kiwanis Club, vice president of the West Essex Chamber of Commerce, former trustee of St. Vincent's Hospital in Montclair and a former president of the parish council at St. Aloysius Church.

Denman, who became the first World War II veteran to serve as commander of the James Caldwell Post No. 185, was recently awarded the highest of honors from the French government when he was appointed in 2012 as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Denman and his wife have lived in Roseland since 1996 and have four daughters and 11 grandchildren.

For more information about the award presentation next month, contact Jonathan Barrett at 973-809-8920.

Biography information supplied by the Rotary Club of the Caldwells.

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