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Retired North Adams Worker Gives Signs of Esteem

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

Retired Wire & Alarm worker Robert J. Upton presents a sign dedicated to firefighters past and present to city firefighters and Fire Director Stephen Meranti, left. Also attending was Mayor Richard Alcombright, standing next to Upton.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Robert J. Upton was struck by inspiration driving home one day from his retirement job at Stamford Valley (Vt.) Golf Course — how to show his regard for his former city colleagues.

"People complain about our public safety all the time," said the former Wire & Alarm Division worker. "I thought it was time to do something good for them."

Upton is probably best known as the man who for years strung the Christmas lights along Main Street and on the city's two large trees — and the one who took them down afterward. He retired more than a year ago.

A couple weeks ago, he presented the Fire Department with a sign "Dedicated to all past & Departed Fire Fighters"; on Wednesday, he presented a similar sign to the Police Department.

Upton wanted a gesture that would be public and lasting and that would express his feelings about the nearly 30 years he'd worked along side the public safety departments.

"They could dispay them at the Police Department and the fire station and people would see it," he said of his decision to create signage similar to a plaque.

"Bob has always been thought of as member of our firefighting family," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti, who also oversees Wire & Alarm. "He has always been there when we needed him. We will display this plaque with honor in the station."

Upton said the design was created with the computer graphics help of Jessica Tietgens, who also works at the golf course. "She came up with the designs for me," he said. "She's a good person."

The first sign was created and donated by Michael Sacco and Peace Train Tees at the Berkshire Mall; Beck's Printing made the one for the police station.

"They are always right there when you need them," said Upton of the city's public safety personnel. "I just figured that somebody should show they're appreciated.

"Eventually, down the road, I'd like to give one to the ambulance service as well."

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