On Sunday, October 1, 2017 beginning promptly at 9 am at the Jefferson Township Municipal Building complex, the Junior Woman’s Club of Jefferson Township will host their 19th annual 5K Wrobo Run/Walk (3.1 miles) named after Jefferson Township’s 2nd Lieutenant John Thomas Wroblewski.  The event will close Weldon Road and local roads in the Milton section of Jefferson Township as runners from around the tri-state area wind their way through the challenging hills of Jefferson Township.

For those who may not know who Lt. Wroblewski was, let me share some background about this Jefferson Township hometown hero…

John was the oldest of four sons born to Shawn and John Wrobleski, residents of Jefferson Township for over 25 years who still reside in the Milton/Oak Ridge section of the township.  John graduated from the Jefferson Township High School and was known as J.T.  He was #31 on the JTHS  football and baseball teams where he played outside linebacker in the fall and second base in the spring. After graduation, J.T. attended the County College of Morris and Ursinus College in suburban Philadelphia and then went on to Rutgers University in New Brunswick graduating with high honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and Sports Studies. He pursued his dream career of joining the Marines, making that decision after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and determined to make a difference.

He went on to graduate from Officer Candidates School, Quantico, Va., and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in December of 2002. He continued his military education at The Basic School, where he graduated 10th in a class of 231 and was appointed to the General’s Honor Roll and was meritoriously augmented.  After graduating from the Infantry Officer’s course in Quantico, he was transferred to Camp Pendleton where he assumed command of the 2nd Platoon, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 4th Marines.  He soon left Camp Pendleton and his new wife Joanna for Kuwait; and one day, he boarded a convoy with his men after learning that Marines were under attack in Ramadi.

Along the way, Lt. Wroblewski’s unit was ambushed in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, and several Marines were shot and fell from the vehicles to the ground.  Lt. Wroblewski jumped out and was shot while assisting his wounded Marines and was rushed to a hospital elsewhere in Iraq.  At 25 years old, just shy of his 26th birthday, surrounded by fellow Marines around his bedside, he died on April 6, 2004 from his wounds.  He was among a dozen U.S. Marines killed during one of the deadliest days of fighting in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Lieutenant Wroblewski, the first Morris County fatality in Iraq, was buried with full military honors on April 23, 2004, in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  J.T. died a hero and was a Marine through and through.  “Lieutenant Wroblewski’s patriotism and dedicated service to his country make him a hero and a true role model for all Americans,” read Executive Order No. 105, signed by then Governor James E. McGreevey.

In July of 2004, the Jefferson Township Council unanimously decided to rename the tiny block of Michele Road in the Milton section of Jefferson Township where the fallen Marine Lt. Wroblewski grew up.  The street sign was removed and replaced with a sign that reads 2nd Lt. John T. Wroblewski Lane.

As J.T. strived to serve his country, the JWCJT strives to keep J.T.’s memory and spirit alive through the Wrobo Run and other efforts to make a difference in the community. The Juniors are dedicating the proceeds from this year’s event to benefit the Jefferson Township Teen Scene program. The mission of the program in conjunction with the Jefferson Township Recreation Department is to provide positive opportunities for resident teens in 6th through 9th  grades. The aim of the Teen Scene is to provide teens a place where they can gather with one another in a safe and supervised environment.  Most of the activities, programs and special events take place at Camp Jefferson and/or other designated sites in town.  JTTS offers these students opportunities to foster positive experiences and strengthen social bonds in a clean, drug-free environment where they can relax, take advantage of the activities/programs, and just be themselves.

In addition, 20% of the event’s proceeds will go to the Junior Woman’s Club’s high school scholarship award, an award that honors graduating students from Jefferson Township High School who have displayed an extraordinary level of civic dedication via volunteer efforts throughout their lives, along with exceptional academic achievement.

You don’t have to be an avid runner to participate in the Wrobo Run, and all levels of runners and walkers are welcome.  Pre-register online at www.compuscore.com or take advantage of on-site registration and packet pickup between 7:30 and 8:30 am at the Jefferson Township Municipal Building complex, 1033 Weldon Road, Oak Ridge.  Scoring and timing will be supplied by CompuScore.  Categories and awards in the Wrobo Run will be the first three men and women Overall,  1st Place male/female in age categories 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+ , Fastest Team, Largest Team, first 10 children, 14 and under.

Donations, monetary or otherwise, are greatly needed and appreciated – contact Kim Reid at 973-617-7041 or Dawn Morris at 973-202-8365 or log on to https://www.jeffersonjuniors.org/.

Previous articleSwimmers Take to the Water for a Good Cause
Next articleThe Wooden Spoon’s Country-Style Scalloped Corn Casserole
Carol was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Jefferson Township with her husband in 1976. She initially joined the Garden Club of Milton, eventually serving as President. She was a co-founder of the ABC Mothers Group, active in the local PTAs, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts. She worked for AIM Newspapers as a reporter and eventually became its Editor. Currently, she is President of the Jefferson Arts Committee and the Recreation Program Coordinator in the Jefferson Township Recreation Department. She can be reached at carol.punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

Comments