Published in the May 26, 2017 edition.

WAKEFIELD — As Memorial Day approaches, the town again gets set to remember the lives of those Wakefieldians who died serving our country.

The observances begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 29, at Moulton Park when the West Side Social Club (WSSC) holds its annual Memorial Day program. After a short break, the town’s Memorial Day ceremony begins at the Veterans Memorial Common at
1 p.m.

Lt. Justin Maio, a marine inspector with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur, TX, will be the guest speaker at the event on the Common. Roberta Taggart is scheduled guest speaker at the West Side ceremony.

The West Side event dates back to the end of World War II. At the time, the club members planted young maple trees around the perimeter of the baseball field in memory of 18 young men, all from this small neighborhood, who made the Supreme Sacrifice in that conflict.

Every year since, on Memorial Day, the members of the club gather to rededicate those trees. In the years since, 11 more trees have been added to honor Wakefield’s deceased veterans of the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars – as well as for all deceased veterans of all wars. Floral bouquets will be tied around the 29 individual trees. A wreath will be placed at the “America’s Tree” in honor of the victims of 9/11 as well as one at the Memorial Boulder, remembering the Club’s deceased members.

Guest speaker Roberta Taggart trained as a nurse in the U.S. Army during the First Gulf War – Operation Desert Storm. She has worked as a Firefighter and EMT for the Wakefield Fire Department for the past 11 years. She has resided in Wakefield along with her husband and three children since 2003.

All Gold Star Families, veterans, friends and neighbors are invited to attend this service. A light collation will be served in the WSSC Anderson Hall at the conclusion of the ceremonies.

In case of inclement weather, all activities will be held in the club’s Anderson Hall.

Anyone who would like to “sponsor” a tree to help defray the costs of the dedication is asked to send a donation to the WSSC Memorial Day Fund at 4 Harrington Ct, Wakefield, MA 01880. The suggested donation amount is $40 per tree, but any donation is welcome and appreciated.

Justin Maio, a Wakefield Memorial High graduate, is stationed in Port Arthur, Texas, which has the nation’s fourth busiest commercial port, the third largest petrochemical complex and the busiest strategic port of embarkation for military outload operations.

As a marine inspector, Lt. Maio’s primary duty is reducing deaths, injuries, property loss and pollution by inspecting vessels and ensuring compliance with laws, regulations and international standards. In order to gain qualification to inspect vessels, Maio concentrates on long term professional development and on-the-job training. He has graduated from Marine Inspector School and Port State Control Examiner School at Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, VA.

Justin graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2013.

He is the son of Jean and Stephen P. Maio, Wakefield’s town administrator.