A crowd gathered on the Highlands side of the Highlands/Sea Bright Bridge today while family, friends, local and state officials honored Joseph Azzolina’s memory, officially renaming the bridge the Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge.
A veteran of the United States Naval Reserve from 1944 to 1986 and Republican assemblyman, representing legislative District 13, from 1992 to 2006, Azzolina was a Middletown resident who owned a chain of Foodtowns (under the Food Circus name) and Spirits Unlimited.
In addition to commemorating Azzolina, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Congressman Frank Pallone, state senators Jennifer Beck and Senator Joseph Kyrillos (R-13) all spoke about Azzolina’s character and lifelong passion for improving the quality of life for New Jersey residents.
“Joe was a tireless public servant and truly loved helping his constituents,” said Beck, who was Azzolina's legislative aide more than a decade ago. “It is fitting that the bridge connecting the Highlands to the Jersey shoreline will be forever known as the Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge. Captain Azzolina was a true patriot; he was committed to improving both New Jersey and the Unites States of America. I know he would be really moved by this tribute.”
With the final speech given by Azzolina’s son, Joseph Jr., and many of Azzolina’s children and grandchildren on stage, the new signage was unveiled. The new blue sign now stands aside the entrance to the bridge on top of the WWI memorial.