Photo: Bob Upton at the 2019 Memorial Day parade
Robert Upton, who tirelessly advocated for Belmont’s veterans and put his heart and soul in events honoring those who served and died for their country, will be retiring as the town’s Veteran’s Services Officer on June 3, days after the Memorial Day parade and commemoration.
The announcement was made by Wesley Chin at Monday’s Board of Health meeting.
Upton did not return a call for comment.
”There are no words to say what Bob does and how much he means to the town,” said Donna David, chair of the board on Monday. “It will be a huge pair of shoes for someone to fill, that’s for sure.”
Upton will come before the Select Board next week to ask for permission to hold the town’s annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony, this year on Monday, May 30.
Upton was appointed as the town’s veterans agent in January 2015. Soon after, Upton established regular meetings at the Beech Street Center to allow veterans an outlet to voice their concerns and to catch up on the myriad of services and benefits available to them and their families.
Upton is likely best known throughout town for his involvement in the planning and hosting Belmont’s observances of Memorial Day and Veterans Day events, which involves countless hours of coordinating with town officials and numerous groups to help recognize current and past residents who served their country.
He has also initiated the annual Purple Heart Day Ceremony held in August, headed Belmont’s commemoration of the Armistice Day Centennial and worked with Belmont Eagle Scout Oliver Leeb to create a database to easily locate the 1,800 military service dead in the town’s two cemeteries.
A Peabody resident, Upton – who has been a Realtor since the 1980s – has been involved in supporting veterans for well over a quarter century.
The job will remain a 26 hours a week, part-time position with benefits, said Chin.
“We know from past experience that with part time positions, it’s really hard to find good people,” he said.