By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield wants to become a “Purple Heart Town,” in honor of all local veterans who been wounded or killed in action. Last night, on the eve of Veterans’ Day, the Board of Selectmen took the first step toward making it happen.
Dan Benjamin of the Veterans Advisory Board appeared before the selectmen to request that the Board issue a proclamation declaring Wakefield a Purple Heart Town. He said that the signed proclamation would then go to state headquarters of the Purple Heart Society and then on to national headquarters in Virginia.
Being designated a Purple Heart Town, Benjamin said, means that signs could be put up saying “This is a Purple Heart Community” as a way to honor veterans. He said that the Veterans Advisory Board was also considering getting some small decals to place on street signs.
“Wakefield has always honored its veterans,” Benjamin said. “There are about 36 towns in Massachusetts that have this designation and about 600 towns across the United States.”
The proclamation, as read into the record at last night’s meeting by Chairman Brian Falvey, states in part:
“Whereas our community has a proud tradition of military service and many of our citizens have earned the Purple Heart Medal as a result of being wounded while engaged in combat with enemy forces, construed as a singularly meritorious act of essential service; Now therefore be it resolved that the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Wakefield, Massachusetts proclaims Wakefield, Massachusetts as a Purple Heart Town, one of the few communities in Massachusetts so designated, honoring the service of our nation’s men and women in uniform that were wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.”
The Board voted to approve the proclamation and each Board member signed it.
“In my opinion, the town can never do enough for the veterans,” Benjamin said.
Council on Aging Director Judy Luciano appeared before the Board to present the Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) Fiscal Year 2014 Service Report for Wakefield.
According to the report, “In FY’14 over 647 Wakefield residents used Mystic Valley’s services valued at $2,512,047. Of these, 129 were eligible for nursing facility care while remaining at home.”
The report details the MVES services used by Wakefield residents, including Meals on Wheels, care management and home care services, transportation, money management assistance and caregiver support.
“They do an awful lot for the residents of Wakefield,” Luciano said.
Luciano also reminded the board about the Boit Fund, which MVES administers. She said that when the Elizabeth E. Boit Home on Bennett Street closed and its Board of Directors were disbursing the assets of the former home for aged women, they designated $400,000 to be available for Wakefield senior residents.
The Boit Fund, Luciano explained, could be used by older residents with needs who lack the funds to pay for such things as hearing aids, repairs to porch steps, a one-time fuel bill or broken dentures.
Luciano said that to apply for funds, senior residents should call MVES at 781-324-7705. They can also call the local Wakefield Council on Aging at 781- 245-3312 or the Town Administrator’s Office (781-246-6390) for assistance in contacting MVES.
The Board voted to approve the sale of a $28,215 Sewer Bond to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and authorized the Town Treasurer to execute on behalf of the town a Loan Agreement and a Financial Assistance Agreement with the MWRA with respect to the bond. The five-year bond is payable in $5,643 installments every year from 2015 to 2019.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio explained that the bond is related to a 2012 Town Meeting vote authorizing the town to apply for and expend $536,000 through the MWRA to investigate inflow/infiltration into the town’s sewer system. Most of the money is a grant, Maio explained, and the rest is an interest-free loan.
Selectmen Paul DiNocco said that in recent visits to the downtown area an issue has come to his attention regarding disorderly youth who regularly gather on the front plaza and sidewalk in front of Beebe Library. Due to their presence, he said, some residents are reluctant to walk on that side of Main Street. DiNocco said that the situation needed to be addressed.
Maio said that he has been speaking with new Recreation Director Dan McGrath about ways to get the youths involved in something else.
Falvey acknowledged the recent passing of former Selectman and School Committee member John Encarnacao, calling him “a true public servant.”
The Board approved a request from Library Director Sharon Gilley to accept and expend $261 in gifts from various donors.