Memorial built for North Attleborough VFW post

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A shadowbox was made for a flag, Purple Heart, and restored photo of Private Federick Blais, for whom the Newell Blais VFW is partly named. The items had been in the post and Commander Erik Rivera wanted them properly displayed to honor Blais' service. Courtesy photo

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The history of Private Frederick Blais’ service in World War I has been commemorated through the efforts of North Attleborough residents.

Blais served in WWI with Battery A of the 55th CAC and was killed in action on Oct. 3, 1918, in Montfaucon, France. He was a resident of North Attleborough. It is partly in his honor that the Newell Blais VFW Post 443 is named. Post Commander Erik Rivera was going through items in his office when he came across an American flag and Purple Heart given to Blais. He wanted to see these items preserved and posted to a North Attleborough Facebook group seeking someone to make a display case.

Town Councilor John Simmons saw the post and reached out to Matt Slobogan, owner of The Preservation Framer. He knew that Slobogan had done similar projects and that the work had been top quality.

I know that they’ve had a hard time at the post fundraising, and that’s a shame,” said Simmons. “The veterans deserve respect. We don’t have the huge group of veterans that we used to.”

Slobogan said the project took about eight hours to complete. Simmons purchased the wood for it—walnut, estimated at $200—and Slobogan crafted it into two parts. The first is a triangular shape for the flag, similar to how they are folded for families whose loved ones die in service to the country. A rectangular box was made to house the Purple Heart and a restored photo of Blais.

I wanted it to tell a story,” said Slobogan.

Rivera said the flag was given to the post by the Blais family on Veterans Day in 2014 and that it was always intended to be preserved in some way. It’s currently on display at the post.

It’s cool to see a piece of our history,” said Rivera. “We’re appreciative of that at the post. Everybody loves it.”