THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2022 GORDY’S CAUSE | FROM PAGE 4 for a special Memorial Day observance several weeks ago. He was there to receive donations totaling close to $500 from a fundraiser organized by Knowles students. The Vietnam veteran got to talk with the students and pose for photographs. Another veteran educator — Diane Walsh, who coordinates Memorial Day programs for students — added a special touch to this year’s observance: dozens of paper poppies attached to several walls at the Belmonte STEAM Academy. “She asked students for the names of family members and friends who had served in the service and who had passed,” Knowles said. “She asked anyone if they wanted to honor a family member and friend. She added their name, military branch and the war to each poppy. There were poppies everywhere,” she said. Shepard was initially drawn to Riverside Cemetery to visit the gravesite of his old childhood friend — Richard “Dicky” Devine, Jr. — a fellow Vietnam War veteran who was killed in combat in January of 1969. Shepard continued to make frequent visits to his buddy’s grave. As the years passed, he noticed that his friend’s headstone was beginning to sink into the ground. He looked at the one beside it, and it bore the name of another hero killed during the war — someone else’s family or friend member. It had been partially covered with grass and dirt. As Shepard surveyed the cemetery, he noticed that many of the headstones and plaques bearing the names of his fellow soldiers were in disrepair. At that point, Shepard went on a mission to clean and straighten out Devine’s gravestone and then the one beside it. Then, he kept going, doing as many as he could over the course of numerous volunteer hours. As the years went on, Shepard restored more than 400 gravesites belonging to veterans. Eventually, he began his Civil War Burial Plot restoration project in 2015. The plaques in the Grand Army of the Republic Plot were in very bad shape. Some were sunk into the ground and almost all of them were unreadable. Shepard noted this week that he’s far from done on cemetery projects on behalf of the Saugus veterans buried there. He continues to work several times a week, mowing the grass and trimming around the gravesites. S POPPIES EVERYWHERE: Part of the display of paper poppies on the wall at Belmonte STEAM Academy honoring late friends and relatives of students who were remembered for their service in the armed forces. (Courtesy photo to The Saugus Advocate) St. Mary’s High School 3rd term Honors students Page 5 t. Mary’s High School announced its Honor Roll and Principal’s List for the third quarter of the 2021-22 academic year. Honor Roll students must achieve 85 or above in all classes, and Principal’s List students must achieve 90 or above in all classes. The following students from Saugus have achieved these honors: Honor Roll Isabella Davantel, ’28 Gianna Stasio, ’27 Zoran Ernjakovic, Jr., ’25 Ava Gigliotti, ’25 Dominic Coco, ’24 Vittoria Moretti, ’23 Molly Cummings, ’22 Kiara LoNigro, ’22 Taylor Picardi, ’22 Principal’s List Daniella Leo, ’27 Valeria Mejia, ’25 Nadia Del Sonno, ’24 Nanina Fabrizio, ’23 Tia Picardi, ’23 Rowan Sharwood, ’23 Christopher Coco, Jr., ’22 SUPPORTING DEPARTED SAUGUS VETERANS: Shown from left to right are Saugus third grade teacher Caroline Knowles, Vietnam War veteran Gordon “Gordy” Shepard and teacher Diane Walsh. Shepard, who has spent thousands of hours restoring and maintaining the gravesites of Saugus veterans buried at Riverside Cemetery, received donations of close to $500 raised by students to support his ongoing work at the cemetery. (Courtesy photo to The Saugus Advocate)

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