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Yellow Ribbons, Flags on Jordan Road Honor Brick Marine

Young Marine honored by Brick officials alongside World War II veteran who stormed Utah Beach on D-Day

Mark Hentges and the flags that honor his military service on Jordan Road in Brick. (Photos: Daniel Nee)
Mark Hentges and the flags that honor his military service on Jordan Road in Brick. (Photos: Daniel Nee)
It's something many Brick residents have noticed in recent months: the proliferation of yellow ribbons and American flags along Jordan Road.

The patriotic display went up methodically but quietly, from south to north, eventually reaching the road's end at Route 88. Locals were often delighted by the site, but did not know its source.

"It’s really this patriotic feel that you get when you drive down Jordan Road, and I didn’t know the story behind it until recently," said Mayor John Ducey. "It’s really an awesome site."

The roadside display honors U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Mark Hentges, 21, and was put up by his family to honor his service while he was deployed in Afghanistan. Last month, he returned home in time for the township's Memorial Day parade, coincidentally just around the time the rows of flags had filled the entire street.

Hentges was honored this week by Ducey and the township council, who presented him with a resolution recognizing his service and declaring Wednesday Mark Hentges Day in Brick.

Earlier this year, Rob Hentges, Mark's father, told Brick Patch that the family began putting up the ribbons and flags to honor his son's service, and is now maintaining them. He said at the time that he didn't intend to keep the source of the display a secret, but wanted to wait until Mark returned home to share the news.

Mark Hentges, quietly and with a smile, accepted the resolution from Ducey in uniform, alongside a Brick Township veteran of an older generation: Walter "Rookie" Pruiksma, 90, who served in World War II.

Pruiksma was also honored by the Brick mayor and council this week, commemorating his service as one of the soldiers who stormed Utah Beach during the Invasion of Normandy, France in 1944.

Pruiksma served as a military police officer in the war, and counts among his accomplishments the heroism he displayed when he escorted a severely injured French woman from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont for miles in a carriage to receive medical care.

Pruiksma was quick to share his thoughts on those who have served in the military by directing his comments toward Hentges.

"You think of Washington and his troops during the Revolutionary War, all the wars that have been fought, and remember, you’re just as important for us with what you’re doing now as what we did back then," he said, before requesting all of the veterans in the room to get up and shake Hentges' hand, which they did.

"Mark is just one fine example of the many Brick resident we have fighting, and he’s a great person to represent those who are deployed," Ducey said.
Bobbie June 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Welcome Home and thanks to you for your service and your special parents for keeping you and the rest of those serving in our hearts with their tribute.
Kim Moore June 26, 2014 at 01:55 PM
I am proud to say that Mark is my nephew, and I can picture him "quietly and with a smile" accepting the resolution from the Mayor as that is kind of person Mark is. He is humble, down-to-earth, kind, compassionate, and obviously strong to have earned the title of "Marine." I am also proud of my brother, sister-in-law, and niece who honored Mark through the placement of the flags and memorial bench while he was away--also done "quietly and with a smile" because they, too, are humble and some of the most compassionate, caring people I am blessed to know. Thanks, too, to Veteran Pruiksma for your service!
Joey Joe June 26, 2014 at 06:08 PM
Welcome Home Mark, and Thank You for your Service. Semper Fi. This marine is very proud of you and of your family. I hope I'll see the day when there are no US Troops deployed in harms way. Wasn't it amazing how many flags were placed after 9-11 only to be taken down within a year. Not mine, my flag flies proud as does my MIA flag, and they always will...
Chuck Cumella June 26, 2014 at 07:43 PM
Outstanding !! Well done. Mark
KC June 26, 2014 at 10:38 PM
So glad to have an answer to this question posted months ago. Thankyou for your service.

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