NORTH ADAMS -- Retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Enrico Gaspardi hasn’t stopped raising funds for the city’s Veterans Memorial Park, even though he saw his dream of placing six flags -- honoring the five branches of the armed forces and prisoners of war/missing in action -- come to fruition last fall.
The Korean War veteran, who raised more than $5,000 for the installation of the flags and poles last year, was at Mayor Richard J. Alcombright’s office Wednesday afternoon to accept a $1,000 donation from Big Y World Class Markets for the continued maintenance and expansion of the memorial. The donation, presented by Store Director Raanan Hartman, pushes donations secured by Gaspardi over $6,000.
"We’re not here to talk about closing out the donations, but about the generosity of Big Y, and to recognize Enrico Gaspardi, who has been the driving force behind this project," Alcombright said. "Donations like this one will help us sustain the memorial and down the road, help us expand it. Right now, we’re gathering the names of local Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans, as we plan to include a stone with their names on it in the future."
He added, "This is more than a token gift. I want to thank Big Y for their continued community support, not only in North Adams but in our surrounding communities as well."
Hartman said the family-owned supermarket chain helps to fund projects and programs in
"All of our requests are reviewed by Betti Boggis at our corporate office. She goes through them with the D’Amours family and they make the decisions," he said. "They do an amazing job and really take care of their communities."
Gaspardi said when he spoke to Boggis earlier this year, she told him, "You can put me down for $1,000, but I can’t get it to you before June 1," but the check arrived a few days earlier, on May 25.
Alcombright praised Gas pardi’s determination and continued support of the park.
"The flags you see up at the park today were purchased by Mr. Gaspardi," he said. "His hand has gone deep into his own pocket several times."
However, Gaspardi shook off the mayor’s praise, saying that having the six flags at the park was something he "had to do before he dies."
"I’m 84," he said. "I just wanted to honor all of our veterans -- men and women. It feels great to know that I was able to do this. One day a week, I get a coffee and sit in the park. It’s a wonderful thing."
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