Welcome to Captain Lester S. Wass Post 3 of the American Legion located at 8 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA. This site was created so our members, families and friends can easily access important information about our Post as well as the National Organization
Our View: Remembering their sacrifice
November 12, 2018
Lester W. Chase was a shoemaker, the son of a painter, when he signed up for the National Guard. It was 1916. He was barely 20 years old when his 1st New Hampshire Infantry was sent off to the Mexican border to hunt for the elusive Pancho Villa with Gen. John Pershing.
Chase was there four months, and had scarcely been relieved of duty for six, when the U.S. declared war on Germany. His unit, folded into what would become the 103rd Infantry, was called for war in Europe in the fall of 1917.
According to an account of Chase’s service submitted to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission by local historian T.J. Cullinane, his Company K went to the front in France in early February 1918, “to gain badly needed experience and provide relief to war weary Allied troops who had borne the brunt of the fighting since the war broke out in 1914.”
Considered a capable soldier, the boy from Derry three months later was chosen for a trench raid. “During this brutal but ultimately successful engagement,” wrote Cullinane, “Chase was mortally wounded.” He died of septicemia from his gunshot wounds on May 25.
News wound its way home in letters. Chase’s commanding officer, 1st Lt. Thomas J. Quirk, wrote to his mother, Allettie: “During the time he has been a member of this organization, he has proved himself a good soldier, willing to do his duty at all times, and while we can only offer our sympathy in bereavement you may well be proud that you had a son who did not flinch when the time came to make the supreme sacrifice in this great struggle.”
Chase was not the first of Derry’s sons to die in combat in what was known as “The Great War,” reported Cullinane, but he was the first to die from combat wounds, and perhaps would become the town’s best known. His name is still attached to the local American Legion.
Five generations later, time has disconnected us from firsthand memories of Chase and others who fought during the first world war. Their names may be memorialized on honor rolls, monuments and buildings but, except for personal histories such as those culled by the World War I Commission, we would not have any true sense of their service.
More than 4.7 million Americans served in that war. More than 116,000, like Chase, died there in battle, from disease or due to other causes. The losses tallied in that war, ended by an armistice signed 100 years ago today, were far eclipsed by the sheer scope and mortality of the conflict a quarter-century later. But that doesn’t blunt the sacrifices of those who served, and particularly of more than 220 people from our region who died, in World War I.
They were people like Lester Sherwood Wass. He was a 32 year old Gloucester man and Marine Corps captain who personally led his troops against machine guns in multiple battles. It was the one near Vierzy, France, where he was killed by gunfire on July 18, 1918. For his heroism, Wass posthumously was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His name also graces the American Legion post back home.
Or people like Albert E. Thomson, who is said to have lied about his age in order to enlist at 16. He was a private in the 101st Infantry and not yet 17 years old when he was killed in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, east of Paris. Six years later, his hometown of North Andover put his name on the school down the street from where he’d lived.
That their names become a fixture of our communities is a significant tribute. As Cullinane noted about Chase, “Three generations of Legion baseball players have taken to the field with his name emblazoned on their chest, just one example of the community activities conducted in his good name.”
But, at 100 years and hereafter, it’s the duty of us the living to ensure we keep animated not just their names but their stories. Only that way can we and the generations after us understand the depth and reason for their sacrifice.
Announcements November 11, 2018:
Announcements 9 May:
The Office of Veterans’Services, the City of Gloucester, and the United Veterans Council are inviting the public to join them at a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 28 at 10:30 AM in the Gloucester High School auditorium. A barbecue lunch will immediately follow the ceremony in the Gloucester High School cafeteria.
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson St, Gloucester, MA will be exhibiting: IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans from May 17 to June 24.
Local Legion calls for tougher gun rules
By Ray Lamont Staff Writer March 31, 2018
Gloucester’s American Legion post has gone on record calling for veterans to support tougher regulations on gun violence in the aftermath of recent school shootings.
Attorney and Vietnam veteran Mark Nestor, commander of Lester S. Wass Post 3, said members of the post voted unanimously last week for four resolutions calling for stricter background checks for gun sales and a lifetime ban on sales to anyone with histories of mental health issues, crime, domestic abuse or violence, a Uniform Code of Military history, or a history on a “no fly” list established by the Department of Homeland Security or the Transportation Security Administration.
The other resolutions endorsed by the Legion urge bans on the manufacture, sales or imports of firearm bump stocks, and for a ban on sales of any high capacity magazine clips containing 30 or more rounds to any business or nongovernmental entity. The fourth resolution simply calls on state and federal lawmakers to back the changes.
Nestor, who said he is not aware of any other posts tackling the gun and school security issue with a resolution from its membership, said he plans to submit Post 3’s resolutions to the Legion’s Massachusetts district in June, in the hopes the state organization will forward it to the national Legion.
The four resolutions approved received unanimous support from the 15 post members who turned out for the March 20 special meeting, though Nestor said had sent notices to all the post’s 210 members. Nestor said the voting session included two hours of debate, and began with 11 potential resolutions on the table.
“We wanted to send a message that veterans are concerned,” Nestor said, “and to make sure people know this is not just about the far right and far left. We’re concerned about the safety of our kids.”
He acknowledged that the post’s call for tighter gun controls will run afoul of those who stand by strict interpretation of Second Amendment.
“But we believe these resolutions can co-exist with the Second Amendment,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen (to the resolution) when it goes to the state level, but if we shake up debate, we shake up debate. That’s what we want to do.”
An uncommon stand
The idea of a Legion post or other veterans organization taking a stand on what some may see as a political issue is unusual, others noted.
John Rosenthal, the Gloucester resident who helped found and still heads the Boston-based nonprofit Stop Handgun Violence, said the local Legion’s stand is the first time he’s heard of a veterans organization stepping out to take a stand on the need for tighter gun laws and gun violence.
“But who better?” he said of veterans, due to their use of and confrontation with weapons in the field. “I think this speaks volumes.
“It’s just another reason why I love Gloucester,” Rosenthal added. “I’m so proud of my city and so proud of these veterans. It shows great compassion and leadership among veterans who — like law enforcement and our students — have a loud voice and can make a difference. These students are not going away, they’re saying ‘enough’! And it’s good to see our local veterans stepping up, too.”
At Gloucester’s AMVETS Post 32 on Prospect Street, commander Victor Anido said veterans there have been discussing recent gun violence, especially since the Valentine’s Day shootings at a Parkland, Florida, high school left 17 dead.
“But mostly, they get back to talking about (gun control) and the Second Amendment,” he said. He added that he doubts the post would back or entertain a resolution similar to the Lester S. Wass Legion post’s.
“I’m not aware that AMVETS nationally or (posts) locally have made their opinion or any comment on the whole weapons issue,” Anido said, “and by our bylaws, we cannot be political at all.”
Officials from the Legion’s national legislative center in Washington did not return calls seeking comment Thursday, nor did anyone from AMVETS national headquarters in the D.C. suburb of Lanham, Maryland.
“I’m all for protecting the young men and women in our schools systems — for protecting everybody — we all are,” Anido said. “It’s a serious situation and we have to do something. But we can’t, as a post, take political positions.”
Adam Curcuru, who heads the Cape Ann Veterans Services Center on Gloucester’s Emerson Avenue, said he and the city-based center did not want to be seen as taking sides in a gun control debate.
“We, as an organization, want to bring our veterans and other people together,” he said, “not be a wedge between people and pull them apart. We’re just looking to be here and support our veterans. I know this (issue) is important, but our job is to bring people together and support our veterans of all views.”
Nestor, however, said he sees the current discussion of tighter gun laws and the need for school safety as one that is beyond political.
“This is a serious issue for us all,” he said, “and this one-a-week (school shooting) pattern is not acceptable. That’s what I believe we, as veterans, should want to say.”
A ‘tin canner’ with a ‘can do’ attitude
Rick Tarr honored for 50 years service to Gloucester Legion post
By Joann Mackenzie Staff Writer / Mar 22, 2018
“Rick is what I consider one of our citizen-soldiers,” Mark Nestor said of Richard S. Tarr, who was recently recognized for 50 years of service to Gloucester’s American Legion post. “He grew up in Gloucester, joined the Navy, came back home, raised a family, and has served the legion for half the time it’s been in Gloucester.”
Tarr, now in his 80s, has in recent times had some mobility issues, Nestor said, but that didn’t keep him from showing up to receive his honor — an engraved plaque— at the Captain Lester S Wass Post 3 of the American Legion.
Tarr, who served from 1960 to 1964, was what Nestor — commander of Post No. 3 — calls “a tin canner.” In other words, he was one of the Navy’s “elite sailors” — a submariner assigned to the “Silent Service,” living in “a steel boat with no windows, no fantail, and in the event of a casualty — no easy escape.”
Back home, Tarr, like a lot of submariners, put his submarine tech skills to work as an electrician. At Red Deering Electrical, where he worked for 50 years, he was for most of those years at the beck and call of the legion, Nestor told the Times. As the pro bono electrical task master for all legion events —from major fundraiser festivals at Stage Fort Park, where he wired all the rides, to Saturday night dances at the legion hall — his contributions were deeply appreciated.
“Those dances at the legion,” saidNestor, “used to be the cat’s meow in their day.”
To Nestor, Tarr “epitomizes the quality of vets” he’s known over the years in Gloucester. In the 4 1/2 years he’s served as commander of Post No. 3, he’s given out six plaques recognizing service, including one to a veteran who’d been with the legion 70 years, and in the year before his death, Gloucester’s much beloved Gus Foote.
“The Gloucester legion is the third oldest in Massachusetts and one of the oldest in the country,” Nestor said. As the legion prepares for a 2019 summer of events to commemorate its centennial, it will, said Nestor, gather memories and memorabilia from older commanders of the legion down through the years.
“We’re looking for the flavor of what it was like,” Nestor said. And for that, they’ll will look to Rick Tarr.
“As a member of the local Gloucester Post for many years,” Nestor said, “his actions embodied the purpose of the American Legion, to serve the needs of veterans of all wars as well as the local community.”
Letter: A call to veterans to protect our children
February 25, 2018
To the Editor:
I write this as a father, husband and veteran. I am sure that you have been as horrified as I have been over the tragic events that recently took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Quite bluntly it was the massacre of 17 unarmed adults and children, someone’s father, mother or child, by a cold-blooded 19-year-old killer who was able to legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle for the sole reason of killing as many human beings as he can before he cowardly fled the school.
And he succeeded! I would like to say that it was an “aberration” or an “one time thing,” but we know that it was not. Since the Sandy Hook killings in 2012 there have been 142 school shootings. In the past year alone there have been 45 separate school shootings. And let’s not forget the tragic slaughter of people just like you and me who turned out in Las Vegas to hear a little country music and 59 of those souls will never hear another song, never kiss another loved one, never to be able to watch their children grow.
The victims for the most part have been children, from kindergartners to high schoolers, our hopes for the future. These children were deprived of the right to live, to grow up and see the world, to fall in love and raise a family, to continue to make our nation great, for reasons we never seem to know. We give lip service to their deaths, shed tears and then move on. We allow our schools, teachers and students to be subjected to regular drills in how to survive a madman or woman. Is that how we want our children to grow up, in fear?
I think we as veterans need to speak out against these killings and the culture that it appears to foster. We as veterans, especially combat veterans, know the horrors of war, and the suffering that has been inflicted upon others and been inflicted upon ourselves by the enemy in the defense of our country and our freedom.
We took an Oath of Allegiance when we enlisted, to defend ourselves against all enemies, both foreign and “domestic.” I submit that we are under attack, and more pointedly, our children, the hope of our future, are under attack. We as veterans have a solemn duty to protect our families. I think that we, as veterans, need to make a statement. The statement should be:
that stronger background checks need to be implemented immediately, that anyone who was a mental health history, criminal history, Uniform Code of Military Justice history or domestic abuse/violence history should be banned forever from ever being issued a weapons license;
- that bump stocks be banned from being sold, manufactured, imported or exported into or out of this country;
- that gun registration requirements be tightened;
- that high-capacity magazine clips need to be banned;
- that all types of assault rifles be banned; and
- that police are granted stronger powers to seize weapons under the Baker Act.
As a veteran of more than 26 years and a Vietnam veteran, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I don’t think that any of these proposals weaken the Second Amendment. You still have the right to own and carry firearms. You can still shoot, hunt and protect your families. You just don’t have the right to own and use assault weapons to wreak mass destruction on our children! Guns are not knives or automobiles. They are manufactured for only one purpose, to kill quickly and efficiently. Who best to tell our elected officials that we veterans want our children and loved ones to live and see their future potential?
I believe that we as veterans need to take a stand. A stand against gun violence and the implementation of some measures that hopefully reduce the chance of any of us ever receiving that fateful call that our child or grandchild has perished in a hail of gunfire at a school. It is a call that I know we never want to receive. I ask that my fellow veterans take a stand and demand these changes. It is a start!
If our elected officials refuse to protect our children then we should vote them out forthwith, and then we, as veterans, who have repeatedly answered the call and defended this great country in its time of need, must step into this void! We have no choice.
Mark L. Nestor,
Vietnam, Class of ‘70
ANNOUNCEMENT: GOLD STAR FAMILIES MEMORIAL
POSTED January 30, 2018
The American Legion JAN 03, 2018
American Legion Family members of Capt. Lester S. Wass Post 3 in Gloucester, Mass., spent their cold, snowy Christmas Day spreading warmth to veterans, the elderly, shut-ins and those staying in a local homeless shelter.
Post 3 Legion Family members and other community members braved the adverse weather conditions and delivered more than 445 ham dinners to residents in need living in the communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Ipswich, Essex and Beverly. And they cooked and served another 45 meals at the post home. The post has been sponsoring this free Christmas dinner for decades.
“We at Post 3 want our fellow citizens, especially shut-ins, elderly and veterans, to know that you don’t have to be alone on Christmas Day. You have Legionnaires and fellow citizens who care and want to make a difference,” said Post 3 Commander Mark Nestor. “The holiday meal is about those we are able to reach out to in a small way and brighten their lives.”
Nestor said the credit of cooking, serving and delivering the meals goes to the more than 65 volunteers
“The volunteers exemplified in so many ways the true spirit and meaning of Christmas and especially of this community that I am proud to call home,” Nestor said. “Giving unselfishly of themselves for the benefit of others. I cannot begin to express to these many volunteers how proud I am of them and how they unhesitantly rose to the occasion to ensure that The American Legion Post 3 kept its promise on this cold and wintry Christmas Day.”
Post 3 is the only organization on Cape Ann that delivers meals during the holidays, according to Nestor. The post fulfills the same efforts for Thanksgiving and Easter.
American Legion Christmas Promise Kept
To the editor: The Christmas holiday is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness, goodwill and good cheer. It’s not supposed to be a time when I looked out over the Legion Square from the Legion Hall on Christmas and I couldn’t see the Joan of Arc Statute due to a blinding snowstorm that wasn’t supposed to hit Gloucester! But it did! But it didn’t matter! A promise was made and a promise was kept! Despite the miserable driving and adverse weather conditions, we were still able to successfully serve or deliver approximately 480 meals to those who needed them.
All the credit for this accomplishment goes to the dozens of volunteers who didn’t let a “little blizzard” stand in the way from accomplishing this mission, many of whom drove a considerable distance in these conditions just to help.
From the woman who took a train from Rockport to Gloucester and was standing outside the Legion at 7:30 in the morning (in the pouring and blowing rain) just to help prepare and serve meals to the countless, young families with children and others who stepped up and said we have four-wheel drive vehicles and who were willing to deliver meals to the farthest reaches of Cape Ann and beyond in the miserable and hazardous weather just to make sure that everyone had a holiday meal. And they did!
They exemplified in so many ways the true spirit and meaning of Christmas and especially of this community that I am proud to call home. Giving unselfishly of themselves for the benefit of others. I cannot begin to express to these many volunteers how proud I am of them and how they without hesitation rose to the occasion to insure that the American Legion Post No. 3 kept its promise on this cold and wintry Christmas Day.
They truly made a difference on a day that could have turned out disastrous. But it didn’t, because they didn’t let it happen. On behalf of all my fellow legionnaires at the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, I want to express my thanks and gratitude to all of you donors, servers, drivers, and other volunteers that made this Christmas holiday meal a rousing success!
You and your families embody what is right in this country, namely adversity is something that you deal with head on and don’t shy away from. You will always be in my heart. Thank you! And Ms. Claudia Curtis of Salem, Oregon, I hope you had a very merry Christmas.
MARK L. NESTOR
Capt. Lester S. Wass,
American Legion Post No. 3
Returning veterans deserve a level playing field
To the Editor:
I read with dismay Stephen Delaney’s Dec. 19 letter to the editor, “No quota system for veterans.” Mr. Delaney appears to believe that today’s veterans should not be entitled to veterans preference because there is no longer a draft.
Yes, he’s correct, there is no draft. But after the horrific and unprovoked attack on the United States on 9/11/01, tens of thousands of young men and women for the past 16 years have interrupted their education or employment to enlist in the armed forces and answer the call of their country. Often these men and women repeatedly put themselves in harms way with multiple tours in either Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of freedom.
These military personnel often spending a significant amount of time away from their families and loved ones in war zones because they knew that it was the right thing to do. When they return to civilian life, Don’t they deserve a chance to reintegrate themselves into society and the workplace? Don’t they deserve to get a “leg up” to make up for their sacrifice? Don’t they deserve more than just a pat on the back?
Don’t they deserve something that will somewhat level the playing field because of their service? And that is what veterans preference gives them. Don’t we at least owe them that much, Mr. Delaney?
Mark L. Nestor,
Vietnam, Class of ‘70
The American Legion Christmas promise
The Christmas holiday is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness, goodwill and good cheer. Families coming together to share and bask in the glow of the Christmas spirit and often to reunite after a busy year. Sadly, for many on Cape Ann, especially our “golden age” citizens, Christmas is, at best, just another day on the calendar. They have nowhere to go or no one to share Christmas with them. At worst, it’s a day of gloom, sadness, loneliness and clearly not of good cheer. But it shouldn’t be that way! It can’t be that way! Everyone should be able to share in the Christmas spirit, if only briefly.
That’s why the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, has for decades sponsored the Christmas Holiday Ham Dinner. We at Post No. 3, want our fellow citizens, especially shut-ins, elderly and veterans that you don’t have to be alone on Christmas Day. You have Legionnaires and fellow citizens who do care and want to make a difference! That’s why we will again be serving and delivering free holiday ham meals on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25. Not only will we be delivering a hot meal but a meal that will come with a smile and a cheery Christmas greeting, often by families with young children who want to experience the real meaning and spirit of Christmas. You are all invited and all you have to do is sign up. We especially want to reach out to any and all of our fellow veterans. You answered our country’s call, often placed yourself in harm’s way, and we can do no less for you. This is clearly a way for my fellow Legionnaires as well as our fellow Gloucester volunteers to give back to this great community.
We will be delivering meals starting at approximately 11 a.m. Christmas Day. If you would like to request a meal then please call 978-283-9710 or 978-283-7117 any time and leave a message or you can email your request to me at [email protected]. Please speak slowly and give your full name, address and telephone number and # of meals that you would like. All meals are free. Because of increased demand, we now serve the communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Manchester, Beverly and Ipswich The deadline for requesting a meal is Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.
For those who are alone on Christmas Day and just want to enjoy a holiday meal and some camaraderie, you are also welcome to join us for a Christmas holiday meal upstairs at our decorated Legion Hall, 8 Washington St., Gloucester, commencing at 11:15 a.m. All are welcome!
As we prepare to celebrate this upcoming holiday and what it means to each of us, we must also remember that this Christmas holiday meal is not about those who plan sponsor, prepare, serve and deliver. It’s about those we are able to reach out to in a small way and to brighten their lives, even if only for a day or a meal. Everyone should be included in this special day, if only for a brief period of time. This is what Christmas is all about. Remembering that we are all citizens of Gloucester and we all stand together.
This is the American Legion Promise to you! Please take advantage of it. Call and request!
Mark L. Nestor
Capt. Lester S. Wass American Legion Post No. 3
ANNOUNCEMENTS: POSTED December 11, 2017
A VETERANS DAY MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDER 11/10/2017
I would like to extend to my fellow Legionnaires and to all veterans from all services and all wars and peacetime a profound Thank You for your service and sacrifice to our country. You left your homes, the arms of your loved ones, your children, your fellow citizens and careers to answer the call of our country and who then returned to take an honored place within our community. On behalf of the citizens of the City of Gloucester I want to say to you, “Thank you for your sacrifice and patriotism. Thank you for putting the ideals of this country first by rising in defense of these ideals. Thank you for supporting and defending the Constitution of this Country against those who seek to destroy our society and freedoms”.
Tomorrow, Veterans’ Day is for you. But it should be for you the remaining 364 days of the years. Your call to duty was not a once a year event and not the honor and gratitude that you are entitled to should not be a one day per year event. WE OWE IT TO YOU!
On Saturday, November 11, 2017, a Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at the Gloucester High School at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by a march to the Joan of Arc statute in front of the Legion Hall for a short ceremony and the laying of the wreaths. Thereafter, there will be a collation upstairs in the Legion Hall. I encourage all who can, to attend, you are clearly welcome. Rub elbows with your fellow veterans and relive the camaraderie.
I had the opportunity to meet with some fellow veterans at Seacoast Nursing Home in Gloucester on November 10th to thank them for their service to their country. Among those I met was a WWII veteran who fought in Saipan and was proud to be a Marine, another WWII vet who stormed ashore at Normandy, and a woman who was a Navy Nurse who was too shy to respond when I asked for a show of hands of all those who were veterans. She felt that because she had not been in a war that she didn’t deserve to be considered a Veteran. I immediately corrected her
and told her that since she served, she deserved to be called a veteran. I especially want to reach out to our men and women veterans who are confined to nursing homes or are housebound, that I will never forget you and your service and my fellow veterans will never forget you and your service to this Country.
Thank You! I am proud to stand with you.
Mark L. Nestor
Commander – Post No. 3 Vietnam, Class of 70
John ‘Gus’ Foote, advocate for veterans, fishermen, seniors, dies at 87
By Ray Lamont Staff Writer, The Gloucester Times Oct 7, 2017
A leading voice for Gloucester’s seniors, fishermen and the people of his beloved Ward 2 is now silent.
John A. “Gus” Foote, who represented Ward 2 on Gloucester’s City Council for more than three decades and served as a tireless advocate for many residents across the city, died early Friday morning at Addison Gilbert Hospital. He was 87.
Foote, a dominant presence on the council during two stints from 1976 through 2009, was also a member of the city’s earlier fisheries commission and held a seat for years on the Gloucester Housing Authority board as the governor’s designated appointee. A staunch Republican, he spoke proudly of gaining those GHA appointments in recent years from Democrat Deval Patrick and Republican Charlie Baker alike, the latter who named him to another five-year term in 2015.
A decorated Purple Heart and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Korean War, he continued to attend the city’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, wearing his Purple Heart cap, right up to this past May’s Memorial Day service at Gloucester High School.
“No matter what he had going politically, he always supported and remembered his fellow veterans,” said attorney Mark Nestor, a Vietnam veteran and commander of Gloucester’s Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3. “I would have arguments with him, and he didn’t mince words, but if you had to (push for) something, all you had to do was say the word ‘veteran’ and he’d say, ‘What do you need?’”
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, who served with Foote on the council and the fisheries commission before it fell dormant and was revived in 2012, ordered the flag outside City Hall to remain at half-staff in his honor Friday. The flag had been at half-staff throughout the week to commemorate the victims of last weekend’s Las Vegas shootings.
“He cared about everyone. He really, deeply cared for the city of Gloucester and its people,” the mayor said Friday. “He never stopped caring,” she added, saying Foote continued to call her weekly about city issues until very recently.
‘The voice of Gloucester’
“One thing about Gus, you knew where he was coming from,” Romeo Theken said. “He was straightforward. If he was mad at you, he’d let you know. If he appreciated what you were doing and thought you were doing a good job, he’d let you know that, too. Also, whether we were on the same side (of a council issue) or just screaming at each other, he would always then come over, shake your hand, and say, ‘OK, what do we do now?’ He never held a grudge.”
Lenny Linquata, whose family has run The Gloucester House restaurant in the city’s harbor for more than 50 years, echoed those thoughts about Foote’s style.
“Even when you didn’t agree with him, and there were times I didn’t, you could always talk to the guy,” Linquata said. “The beauty about Gus was you always knew where you stood, but you also knew he never had any ulterior motive. He always did what he thought was the right thing for Gloucester.
“He was the voice of Gloucester, and he was especially the voice of the people on the waterfront,” added Linquata, whose restaurant sits adjacent to a small green space named as a park in Foote’s honor just off Rogers Street. “He was a voice of the little people, too. The little person knew he or she had a voice when Gus was around. And if you disagreed, he never took it personally.”
Lucy Sheehan, director of the Rose Baker Senior Center, noted Foote’s attention was not just focused on major issues.
He was a driving force behind the construction and opening of the Rose Baker center in 2001. He continued to visit seniors at the center regularly after it opened, and even insisted in taking a role in minute decisions — like where to place a coffee pot.
“A (previous) director had put it out in the lobby, but the seniors wanted it in the dining room,” Sheehan recalled. “As soon as she was gone, he was the one who made sure it got put in the dining room — where he thought it belonged.”
Decades of public service
Foote was elected to the council in 1976, and served until 1991, when he ran for mayor but lost by 930 votes to the late William Rafter. He ran for the Ward 2 seat again in 1993, when he won handily over a one-term incumbent, Walter Brian Galvin, and remained on the council through seven two-year terms, advancing through five of those seven elections unopposed.
His final election came in 2007, when he edged past challenger Ann Mulcahey by 16 votes. He did not seek re-election in 2009. In all, Foote served 32 years as a city councilor.
He was hardly alone in public service among his own family. His wife Carolyn worked for 36 years as the city’s parking meter enforcement attendant before retiring in 2009. Of the couple’s six children, four have served as police officers; their son Mark is still active on the force, along with their grandson Jerod. Gus Foote was one of 12 children.
“He was one of those people that I guess you just expect will live forever,” Romeo Theken said Friday, her voice cracking in emotion. “I guess I expected him to live forever. I’m so going to miss him.”
Nestor said the city should take steps to ensure Foote will be remembered in a special way this Nov. 11, the first Veterans Day in decades in which Foote won’t be on hand for the city’s annual ceremonies.
“I think we should leave an empty chair for him that day,” Nestor said. “You know he’ll be there in spirit.”
A full obituary on Gus Foote is scheduled to be published in Monday’s Times.
Calling hours will be Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Pike-Newhall Funeral Home, 61 Middle St. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church on Prospect Street, with burial to follow with military honors in Calvary Cemetery.
PRESS RELEASE: September 16, 2017
Ceremony honoring Mrs. Phyllis Curcuru’s 70 years of continual service to the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 3
On Saturday September 16th, members of the Captain Lester S Wass Post 3 of the American Legion and invited guests gathered to honor Mrs. Phyllis Curcuru’s 70 years of continual service to the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 3. Some of Mrs. Curcuru’s relatives travelled from as far as Georgia to attend the event in the Legion Hall. The ceremony was opened by Post 3’s commander Mark Nestor, with Ms. Margaret Buouchie, President of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 3 officiating as Master of Ceremonies.
Mrs. Curcuru was presented with her Certificate of Service signed by Maureen Craven, the President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Legion Auxiliary. In attendance was Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, who regaled all present with childhood memories of Mrs. Curcuru giving her a good tongue lashing when she misbehaved. Mrs. Curcuru commented that she kept a keen eye on the Mayor when she was a little girl and made sure she knew it – “because that girl had some qualities and abilities that might prove useful when she grew up.”
Senator Bruce Tarr presented Mrs. Curcuru with a resolution from the Massachusetts State Legislature and a proclamation from Governor Charlie Baker recognizing Mrs. Curcuru’s long standing service to veterans and their families. Other notable dignitaries present were William J. Murphy, III, alternate National Executive Committeeman of the Sons of the American Legion, and Mr. John A. Pasierbiak, Massachusetts Vice Commander of the American Veterans.
For further information regarding this Press Release please contact the Chaplain of Post 3: Paul Krueger at [email protected]
PRESS RELEASE: September 10, 2017
Mark L. Nestor, Commander
As a result of the impact of Hurricane Irma on Florida where we know that hundreds of thousands of retired veterans, many of them disabled, currently live, we are expanding the scope of support to those Florida Legionnaires. Please contribute and help us help them. Many gave so much for their country we need to give back to them in their time of crisis.
PRESS RELEASE: September 3, 2017
Mark L. Nestor, Commander (978) 609-1186
GLOUCESTER AMERICAN LEGION POST NO. 3
ESTABLISHES A HURRICANE HARVEY LEGIONNAIRES ASSISTANCE FUND
GLOUCESTER, MASS. – The Commander of the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3 in Gloucester, MA, Mark L. Nestor, announced today that his post has established the Hurricane Harvey Legionnaires Assistance Fund through GO FUND ME to help their fellow American Legionnaires in Houston, Texas, whose lives have been impacted by this terrible tragedy. Commander Nestor in his statement said “By now the citizens of Gloucester have been overwhelmed by the heart wrenching scenes of devastation and misery that has been inflicted upon the citizens of Houston and surrounding communities by Hurricane Harvey. I am sure that for most of us the damage and toll that these residents endured and continue to endure is unfathomable. Our hearts and sympathy reach out to them and it cries for our support. I understand the sense of frustration when you consider how many people have been impacted by this Hurricane and just how much relief that they need and how can we as citizens of just one city help.
As the Commander of the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, one segment of the population of Houston immediately comes to mind, namely, my fellow Legionnaires that have been terribly affected by this unwarranted catastrophe. These are men and women who, when called upon, donned a uniform and swore to protect and defend this country. Many of these same men and women, throughout the years, without hesitation, have placed themselves in harm’s way, often at great personal cost, and rise up and defend this nation against all odds. Who better than these individuals deserve immediate response to their needs and losses in this terrible time of distress. Many have lost everything, their homes, their possessions and their livelihood, and many have no insurance or the financial means to recover or replace.
I acknowledge that there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of other veterans, living in the Houston area that also need assistance and relief and I hope that my fellow veterans’ organizations, both in this community as well as state wide, will answer the challenge that has been placed upon them, but my post unfortunately does not have the resources to support them all. As a result of this devastation and disaster, the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3 has just established the Hurricane Harvey Legionnaires Assistance Fund. The intent of this fund is to help our fellow Legionnaires and their families
in the Houston area who are the victims of this disaster. 100%of the donations provided will go to assist those Houston Legionnaires who are in need. I have already reached out to American Legion Posts in Houston as well as the Texas State Department of the American Legion with the simple statement “how can we help”, and we are responding to their requests. We have already had one successful fundraiser this weekend but we are seeking additional funds from our fellow veterans and citizens of Gloucester in order to make as significant and impact and assist as many veterans and their families as we can. If you want to donate by check please send the check for any amount to “Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, P.O. Box 133, Gloucester, MA 01931-0122“, and annotate on the check “Legionnaires Assistance Fund”. Whatever financial or other assistance that we, as the citizens of Gloucester currently face, it pales in the face of what those residents of Houston and the surrounding area are currently experiencing. There is a well known saying in the military that “no one is left behind” and that is what we are facing here. We cannot ignore nor can we leave behind those who have gallantly served our country in its time of need. The gauntlet has been thrown down and it is our obligation to pick it up and extend a hand of support and assistance in any way that we can. Please click on the GO FUND ME link below to help.
On behalf of all my fellow Legionnaires of the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, I would like to thank the citizens of Gloucester in advance for their generous and enthusiastic support in the face of this emergency.