If the measure of a man is how many people show up for your birthday, then Angelo Firenze is a very lucky man.
It was standing room only in St. Joseph Parish Hall as the former selectman's family, friends, and colleagues in both his professional and political career gathered to celebrate Firenze's 70th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 13.
"I promised not to cry but look what you're doing to me," said the sentimental Firenze as he held his wife, Wega, close as the eight-year selectmen received the applause from his past colleagues – the current Board was present as were past selectmen such as State Sen. Will Brownsberger and Paul Solomon – town officials and workers.
"I am just so blessed to have a wonderful wife and sons who I am very proud of," said Firenze – who has lived in Belmont for more than 60 years – after blowing out about 10 percent of the 70 candles expected on his birthday cake.
The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the gift given to him by his sons and daughters-in-law: a high-quality digital photograph of the Paul Wilson oil painting that hangs in the Town Clerk's Office in Town Hall depicting the last steam engine train to travel over the Belmont Center railroad bridge in the 1950s.
The photo was appropriate as Firenze has campaigned for the cleaning and repair of the century-old bridge which marks the entrance to Belmont Center from the west, south and east.
In lieu of gifts, guests were invited to make a donation in support of cleaning this iconic Belmont landmark. The work will include power wash the stonework; repair and repaint the wrought iron fencing along the top of the bridge, replace dull, broken lighting, and landscape the area all in steps.
The following organizations have all given their support for this project: Belmont Historic District Commission, Belmont Historical Society, Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, Belmont Center Planning Group, Belmont Center Business Association, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Belmont Garden Club, Belmont Women’s Club, and Belmont Town Club.
Contributions are tax-exempt and handled by the Belmont Citizens Forum, a 501(c)(3) organization, whose mission includes preserving historic structures.
Contributing to this community oriented project, please send a check to:
The Belmont Citizens Forum
P.O. Box 609
Belmont, MA 02478