By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Commended by local dignitaries as one who “embodies the true values of America,” George Whapham was named “Veteran of the Year” at a special ceremony held by the Marlborough Veterans Council August 3 at the Fish and Game Club.
Whapham served in the Korean War and spent 60 years with the American Legion Akroyd Houde Post 132 supporting local and area veterans and their activities.
In nominating Whapham for the award, John Raymond, commander of Post 132, said:? “His affiliations and activities demonstrate his deep commitment to country, community, family, education, youth, spirituality and music.”
During his years as a Legion member, Whapham held leadership positions in all levels of the organization, including involvement with erecting the John Brown Bell tower in 1968. He has been an active member of the Waltham American Legion Marching Band for the past 52 years as he continues to share his love of music.
Whapham encourages excellence in education with his involvement in the Oratorical Scholarship Program and Boys and Girls State programs.? He was lauded for his outstanding contributions to the city including his service as chair of the Marlborough Labor Day parade for 27 years. Other recognitions include:? Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, “Volunteer of the Year 2000” by the Marlborough Girl Scouts, “Humanitarian of the Year 2002” by the city of Marlborough, and 2009 Labor Day Parade grand marshal. He also serves on the Special Education Parents Advisory Council, is a member of the Commission on Disabilities and a longtime volunteer with the Marlborough Music Association.? In 2007 he was the recipient of the Cosmo (Valente) award for his contributions to the Association.
Master of Ceremonies for the event, Wayne Stanley, commander of the Disabled American Veterans, introduced Mayor Arthur Vigeant who brought greetings of the city and presented Whapham with a plaque.
Whapham said he was “very pleased” with the honor and will continue to serve in the city he holds dear. His wife, Melanie, their children and grandchildren joined in the celebration.? Also in attendance was State Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough). ?Bob Page of the local Veterans Council helped with arrangements.
During the ceremony, awards for extensive volunteer effort on behalf of local veterans groups were presented by Michael Ferro, president of the Veterans Council and commander of the American Legion Post 132; and Richard Sebeika, commander of Italian American Post 45.? Receiving awards were Gregory Brewster, Ronald Gaucher, Bob Gregoire and John Dupree.
Prior recipients of the Veteran of the Year Award, who also attended the gathering, were Arthur Dott, James Holt, Rocco Addeo, and John Manning.