The Millstone Times April 2022

CONFRONTING HIS FEAR By Pam Teel In last month’s issue we ran an article about people’s fear of heights. We were so happy to receive a response from 82-year-old Mel Meszaro, of Monroe Township, who told us about his fear of being in high places and how he learned to overcome that fear. After high school, and two years of college, where he felt he was wasting his time not concentrating on his schoolwork, Mel joined the Marines. He was determined to make something of himself. He was in the air wing division where he learned aviation electronics, and radar. His work kept him on the ground. He earned the coveted title of “Marine” and “Outstanding recruit of his platoon” from Parris Island, SC. That was and still is the proudest day of his life. After his stint in the Marines, he became an iron worker. He was not very happy with scaling tall heights, especially since, back in his time, there were no safety procedures or precautions as there are now. They weren’t skyscrapers he was working on, but it was enough to give him wobbly knees and the sweats. He would have to sit on beams and walk across them to get from one place to another. Iron workers made pretty decent money in those days. This was incentive enough for him to continue in that field. Mel also worked at different bar/ lounges that his father owned, around New Jersey, and learned the restaurant/ bar business most of his adulthood. In 2005, when he was 65, Mel took a tour to Mt. Suribachi to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima. Little did he know that he would be one of the marines chosen to once again raise the American flag on. Iwo Jima. For the last twenty years, Mel still goes back to Paris Island to honor new Marines coming out of boot camp. He is still involved with the Ma- rine Corp League, as a color guard, paying his respects to fallen soldiers. Mel loves his flag and he loves his country and would do anything he could for it. He is the type of person who doesn’t like to stand still. He even creat- ed his own bucket list of the things that he wants to accomplish in his life. Mel also participates in the Polar Bear plunge every year, for charity pledges. Later in life, Mel decided to confront his fear about heights by parachuting out of a plane. When asked why he decided to jump, he stated that it was an ego thing. He wanted to face his fear and maybe lessen the sick feeling he always got when he was up high. He would even get that same anxious feeling when he went on rides at Great Adventure. What better way to face his fear by going as high as you can. He took three parachute jumps, at 70, 75, and 80 years old (one static and two tandem jumps). His advice: don’t look down. Jumping from the plane did help Mel, to some extent, face his fear of heights. Mel stated that he will always have some concerns of panic relating to his parachuting, which is normal, such as his shoot not opening. Most shoots are equipped now with two cords in case one doesn’t work. Call it ego, call it facing your fear, Mel Meszaro has a lot of guts! MEL MOTTO'S

Moving targets are hard to hit; keep moving. You only live once. Semper Fi Marine Mel!

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