From military service to business to community service, this year’s inductees of the Warren County Hall of Fame, to be celebrated at the 6th Annual Warren County Hall of Fame dinner in October, definitely have made their mark.
This year’s Hall of Fame Class includes Thomas McHugh, Joel Kobert, Douglas Steinhardt, Judge John Kingfield. Col. Clinton Pagano, Frank Van Horn, and posthumously, Stuart Hartung.
Here’s some details about this year’s Hall of Famers:
Thomas McHugh, Sr.
McHugh, a former postmaster, is a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces. He enlisted in the Army 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 60 years of service in the American Legion, having served as Hackettstown Blue Ridge Post 164 Commander, Vice Commander, and Trustee Chairman. He also held a number of Warren County and NJ State Detachment Offices, including Americanism, Children & Youth, Time & Place, and Department Vice Chairman for the Sons of the American Legion. 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 the Korean War.
Kobert, a longtime attorney in Warren County, served in the military from 1968-70. Captain US Army Armor Branch, Vietnam Service Medal, Bronze Star. Managing Partner Law Firm/Courter, Kobert and Cohen 1962-2014. He was an attorney , US Dept. of Justice. Special Assistant to Ann Klein, Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies. Legal Assistant to Assemblywoman Ann Klein, and Assemblyman Robert Shelton. Commissioner , Delaware River Bridge Commission. President NJ Bar Association 1992. President , NJ Lawyer . He is currently a consultant to Elizabeth Dole, to assist Caregivers of Veterans. Counsel, National Sporting Library & Museum, Middleburg, Virginia.
John F. Kingfield
A graduate of Phillipsburg High School, Lafayette College, and Rutgers School of Law. First Lieutenant in US Army, served 2 years active duty. New Jersey Deputy Attorney General, Warren County Assistant Prosecutor, Warren County Prosecutor, Judge of Superior Court of NJ, retired from bench in 2001.Member of the Warren County Bar Association and served as president. Served on the Governing Body of Lopatcong Township, served on Planning Board, Board of Adjustment. Founder of the Phillipsburg Area Youth Soccer League, started Lopatcong soccer program and coached various sports in Lopatcong. Served on the Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and as its President. Was a member of the Phillipsburg Rotary Club and served as its President. He is a member of the Phillipsburg High School Hall of Fame as well as the Rutgers Law School Hall of Fame.
Colonel Clinton L. Pagano
Arguably the most progressive leader of the New Jersey State Police when he ran the department, Colonel Pagano is a lifelong resident of Warren County. Served on the US Army during the final days of WWII. He re-enlisted in the US Marines and served in the Korean conflict. He joined the State Police in 1952. In 1975, Governor Brendan Byrne nominated Captain Pagano as the ninth Colonel & Superintendent of the State Police & the NJ Senate unanimously approved him. During his tenure the State Police became a diversified and highly efficient law enforcement agency. He led the State Police efforts towards the prosecution of Joanne Cheismard and her two accomplices. He headed the investigation that led to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of the murderers of Trooper Philip Lamonaco. He served as Superintendent of the State Police for more than 14 years before becoming Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles. He was raised in Blairstown, where he lived for several years.
Frank Van Horn
Perhaps Warren County’s greatest Ambassador ever, Van Horn was Mayor of Knowlton Township for many years and is still involved in numerous activities in Knowlton Township as a volunteer. He served years with the Warren County Farmers Fair Association and is currently the chair of the Fair Association. Van Horn came up with the idea of Knowlton Riverfest, which was one of Northwest NJ’s premier music festivals for many years. Creator of Beaver Day. Helped build fields for both North Warren & Belvidere HS. Promoted Warren County on national television. In addition, Van Horn is actively involved in the Lions Club, and many other organizations in many capacities.
Steinhardt is a business leader, political leader and community leader who has devoted his entire life to the betterment of Warren County. He served as the Mayor of Lopatcong for five terms. He serves as a Chairman of Warren County Republican Committee and vice-chairman of NJ Republican County Chairman’s Association. He is a former Trustee to the New Jersey State Bar Association, where he served as the liaison to the School Law Committee. For six years Steinhardt served on the Board of Directors of DARE, NJ, Inc. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the State’s leading drug and alcohol education program for children, before being named the corporation’s General Counsel in 2013. He also serves as general counsel to LEAD, Inc. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs). He was a member of the Legislative Committee of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, where he still serves as an associate counsel. An Eagle Scout, Steinhardt served on the Executive Board of Directors of the Central New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In May 2014, at the annual NJ Conference of Mayors, he was recognized as the Mayor of the Year by the DARE NJ Board of Directors. In October 2014 he was awarded the “Future of New Jersey” for “providing leadership to ensure New Jersey children lead drug and violence free lifestyles.” In May 2011, he was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to the NJ Hall of Fame Advisory Commission. In addition, Steinhardt has personally and through his law firm, been a major supporter of numerous community projects, too many to mention!
Warren County is known for its long tradition of being a farm community and no one epitomizes this effort than the late Stuart Hartung. He was a member of the NJ State Board of Agriculture for 50 years. A farmer his entire life, Hartung was a member of various granges and his input was invaluable to many, many people. He had a particular interest in exposing young children to farm life, often hosting groups of school children at his farm for a tour and educational experience.
The 2014 Hall of Fame Class included Dr. Allen Menkin, Ned Bolcar, Francis “Frank” Loughlin, Kevin Whitmer, Patrick McCormick, and posthumously, John Goles.
In addition to this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame committee will be honoring Scott Churchill, as well as the Warren County Farmers Fair Association, with special awards.
This year’s Hall of Fame Dinner 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 email@example.com.