Hackettstown’s McHugh and Kobert Named to Hall of Fame

Pictured, from left to right, are Warren County Hall of Fame inductees Joel Kobert, Frank Van Horn, Col. Clinton Pagano (sitting), Judge John Kingfield, Douglas Steinhardt, and Thomas McHugh. Being inducted posthumously is Stuart Hartung.

Thomas McHugh and Joel Kobert, both with strong ties to the Hackettstown area, will be inducted into the Warren County Hall of Fame on Oct. 24.

In addition to McHugh and Kobert, this year’s Hall of Fame Class includes Douglas Steinhardt, Judge John Kingfield. Col. Clinton Pagano, Frank Van Horn, and posthumously, Stuart Hartung.

McHugh, a former postmaster, is a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces having enlisted in the Army at age 17 in March 1951 and served on Active Duty until April 1954. Upon Discharge, he served in the New Jersey National Guard for 30 years and then US Army Reserve for 10 years. He retired after 43 years of Military Service as a First Sergeant. He also has over 60 years of service in the American Legion, having served as Hackettstown Blue Ridge Post 164 Commander, Vice Commander, and Trustee Chairman. He is currently a National Director for The Korean War Veterans Association, having served as Director since 2007.

As a representative of both the American Legion and the KWVA, McHugh regularly visits local schools.  In this capacity, he teaches the students about topics such as  patriotism, flag etiquette, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and particularly, about the Korean War.

Speaking to students is special to McHugh. “It’s always been something I’ve felt I was supposed to do,” he said. In addition to his amazing up-front military resume, McHugh designs “Challenge Coins” with the proceeds going to wounded troops, and competes as a Civil War Shooter in competitions all over.

Kobert, a longtime Hackettstown attorney in Warren County, is a decorated military man himself having served his country from 1968-70 and earning a Vietnam Service Medal and Bronze Star. As Managing Partner of the Law Firm of Courter, Kobert and Cohen from 1962-2014, Kobert has been instrumental in many initiatives in the county. A former attorney with the US Dept. of Justice and a Special Assistant to Ann Klein, Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies, he also worked with Assemblyman Robert Shelton, and the Delaware River Bridge Commission, Kobert has always been a well-regarded member of his profession.

But perhaps it is what he does now that is most important. He is currently a consultant to Elizabeth and Bob Dole to assist Caregivers of Veterans through the Dole Foundation, helping to raise funds and awareness to this national effort. “This is my way of giving back,” said Kobert. “Anything we can do to help these caregivers of our wounded soldiers, many of them in need of a great deal of constant care. How does someone take care of a 30-year old returning from service and can no longer function by himself? We do what we can to help their caregivers.”

The 2014 Hall of Fame Class included Dr. Allen Menkin, Ned Bolcar, Francis “Frank” Loughlin, Kevin Whitmer, Patrick McCormick, and posthumously, John Goles. In all, there are over 30 members in the Hall of Fame.

In addition to this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame committee will be honoring Hackettstown’s Scott Churchill, as well as the Warren County Farmers Fair Association, with special awards.

This year’s Hall of Fame Dinner, the 6th Annual, is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 24 at Hawk Pointe Country Club. The event is open to the public. Tables may be reserved. The establishment of the Warren County Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Warren County Community College Foundation, creates a forum for honoring Warren County’s finest in an array of fields. The Hall of Fame itself is set up at Warren County Community College, where the public is invited to see it. For tickets to the recognition dinner and other information, please call 908-835-2334 or email wchalloffame@warren.edu.

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