Page 4 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2022 Helping Gordy’s cause Saugus teacher has her class supporting efforts to keep the memory of veterans alive at Riverside Cemetery By Mark E. Vogler F or more than 14 years, Vietnam War veteran Gordon “Gordy” Shepard has done unheralded public service on the grounds of Riverside Cemetery, devoting thousands of hours of volunteer work to make sure that more than 400 veterans are properly honored. Gerry D’Ambrosio Attorney-at-Law Is Your Estate in Order? Do you have an update Will, Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney? If Not, Please Call for a Free Consultation. 14 Proctor Avenue, Revere (781) 284-5657 We Sell Sell Cigars Cigars & AccessoriesAccessories R.YR.Y.O..O. 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(Courtesy photo to The Saugus Advocate) ing eff orts to support Gordy’s work. “The great thing about it is that they’ve been helping out for a little less than 10 years — minus the COVID — and I nevFATHER’STHER’S DA DAY IS COMING! IS COMING! Check ourCheck our in-house in-house SPECIALS! SPECIALS! BuyBuy Cigars by theCigars by the Box & SA Box & SAVE!VE! CompetitiveCompetitive prices on all prices on all Brands, Great Brands, Great Selection Selection er asked them for it,” Shepard said in an interview this week. “They just went out and did it — and raised almost $500 this year. Overall, they have probably raised two grand. It’s money that’s gone to help pay for sprinklers, fl ag poles, curbing and all the other stuff to help make the veterans gravesites look great,” he said. “Super kids and a super teacher. I know and went to school with her dad — Dan Prezioso. He was a CB who served in Vietnam. We went to Saugus High School together.” Walks through Riverside Cemetery inspired teacher Knowles, who has spent more than 25 years in Saugus Public Schools — the last 16 years as a third grade teacher — recalled that she was inspired several years ago in the midst of a fund-raising project at Veterans Memorial Park. “My father told me about Gordon and how much work he does, and that was about the time they were trying to do the bricks for the park,” Knowles said. “I would take my own children for walks through the cemetery. I would always see Gordon working there — and what amazing work he would do. He was just doing it because he didn’t want those service men in the cemetery to be forgotten,” she said. “When they started doing the fund-raising for the park in front of the old Evans School, I started thinking, ‘What can we do to help Gordon, who is doing all that work alone?’ So, we came up with the idea for ‘Red, White and Blue Day.’ And except for two years lost to COVID, we continued it. And it’s a small token that does make a big difference. We’d ask the kids to wear red, white and blue and donate a dollar,” she said. But the response has been much greater. The fund-raising eff ort has reached outside of Knowles’ classroom into the school (fi rst Veterans Elementary School and later the Belmonte STEAM Academy). One student donated $40. A teacher contributed $25. There were many $5 donations from school staff . Several of Knowles’ classes have helped the cause over the years. Shepard has acknowledged his appreciation by visiting her classroom and interacting with the students. One year, Shepard invited Knowles and her class to a special ceremony at Riverside Cemetery. The National Organization of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War honored Shepard with the organization’s 2019 Founder’s Award for his outstanding service in the memory of Union Civil War Soldiers. It was the group’s only award for that year, and it honored Shepard’s Civil War Burial Plot restoration project, which began in 2015 and took four years to complete. “He invited my class to come down and lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony,” Knowles recalled. “Gordon was so proud. He was also excited for the students. He said we helped make it happen,” she said. Sharing his passion with students Shepard got invited to the Belmonte STEAM Academy GORDY’S CAUSE | SEE PAGE 5 Shepard’s eff orts to restore and maintain the gravesites of Saugus veterans dating back to the Civil War has left quite an impression on longtime Saugus educator Caroline Knowles. For several years, she has had her third grade classes — fi rst at Veterans Elementary School and most recently at the Belmonte STEAM Academy — involved in fund-rais

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