By MADDY VITALE
Air Force Sgt. Bill Cruice Sr. passed away in July of 2020, a lifelong military man, known for being unpretentious, was responsible for significant things in his hometown of Ocean City – especially for his dedication to fellow veterans at American Legion Post 524.
In honor of the veteran who reestablished the post back in 2000, the founding commander’s name will be added to the present Morvay-Miley designation. The new name will be Morvay-Miley-Cruice American Legion Post 524.
On Saturday, July 3 at 1 p.m. there will be a re-dedication of the post. The original dedication was back in April of 2018, when Cruice cut the ribbon to a new building at 4560 West Avenue in Ocean City.
A luncheon will follow the ceremony and all post members and their guests are invited to attend.
“We have been trying to get the signage on the building for three years now. We should be getting the signage soon and it will have Bill’s name on it,” Post Commander Bob Marzulli said in an interview Monday.
But Marzulli, who has been at the helm for the last 10 years and knew Cruice since 2009, noted that he doubts Cruice would have wanted the attention or a sign that bears his name.
“I just don’t think he would want to hear it,” Marzulli said with a laugh. “He was a very unpretentious man. He never really wanted the accolades.”
Back in 2000, Marzulli said the post was “non-functional”
“There weren’t enough people to secure a charter. When Bill came in in 2000, he got enough people together to restart the legion post,” he explained.
Among the events that many likely don’t even know were made possible, in part, because of Cruice, is the annual Memorial Day ceremony to honor members of the military who gave their lives for their country.
It was his quiet but determined dedication to his fellow veterans that made Cruice such a special person, Marzulli said.
According to his obituary, Cruice, who was born in 1934, was a career military man. He began his service in the Navy and spent the remaining time in the Air Force until he retired in 1972. He was a veteran of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
He was married to Bridget Doyle, who pre-deceased him, and was the father of four grown children. He also had grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
While Cruice was unassuming and did not crave attention, Marzulli said when Cruice spoke, people listened with respect.
“Bill sat on the executive board as a trustee,” he pointed out. “He always kept his hand in, making sure we did what we were supposed to do.”
Post 524 was named after Navy Petty Officer Third Class Jon Richard Morvay and Army Specialist 5 Bruce “Michael” Miley, both of whom were from Ocean City and died in Vietnam in 1968.
The sign that will soon grace American Legion Post 524 will also pay homage to another Ocean City man who served his country and made an impact, Bill Cruice.
“Everybody still talks about him even though it has been over a year,” Marzulli said of his friend. “He was one of those guys who told it like it was.”
For more information visit legion524ocnj.org.