LAKEWOOD - From now on, it's Colonel Miller sitting up there on the Township Committee dais.

Deputy Mayor Menashe P. Miller rose in the Air Force ranks, from Major to Lieutenant Colonel, in a ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, led by Senior Chaplain Colonel Joseph Deichert.

A member of the township governing body since 2003, Miller also has a longstanding commitment as chaplain of the Air Force 87th Air Base Wing at the installation, and received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in 2004 and 2008.

Former Joint Base Commander Frederick Thaden characterized miller as a "superb leader and stellar chaplain (with) outstanding pastoral skills; a phenomenal leader who strengthens both the base and the community."

His military responsibilities include pastoral care; providing faith-based insight about ethics and morale to commanders, military and family members, counseling, and taking part in interfaith community events.

Miller's promotion continues a steady rise in the hierarchy, dating back to his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 2002, and continuing with his ascension to First Lieutenant after completing officer training in Alabama, promotion to Captain in 2004, and subsequent appointment as Major.

Miller has acted as religious advisor to Lebanon evacuees and 138 Joint Base families, led 22 Jewish Holy Day programs, contributed to community relations and national prayer ceremonies.

He also supported the US mission in Iraq with counseling to people of all faiths, and people of no faith. He stays on standby for Joint Base members seeking advice and moral support.

"As a Jew, and especially an Orthodox Jew, I feel a strong responsibility to give back to our country," Miller said in prepared comments. "The Jewish people have been persecuted in many countries for generations just for being Jewish. This is the first country in hundreds of years to actually allow people religious freedom and an expression of individuality. Joining the U.S. military is my way of giving back to this wonderful country."

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