Many of you read my last article on Tewksbury Funeral Home's Joel Deputat. Well I had the pleasure of also speaking to John Deputat, his brother. John sits on the Board of Directors for the Tewksbury Lions. Speaking to the Deputat boys made me realize how deep some roots can run in Tewksbury. It makes you understand how Tewksbury really is a family town with generations past and present. As I was talking to John, he gave me the impression that whatever he does or is involved in really has a deep meaning to him. Please read on.
Hollie Gonzalez - Tell me about yourself.
John Deputat - I live here in Tewksbury. I have been here my whole life. I was born and raised here. I was in the Navy for 4 years as an aviation jet mechanic and attended Wentworth. I am married to my wife Roberta. We have 5 children. I currently work at Praxair on Shawsheen Street here in town.
HG - So I have to ask, how come you didn't go into the funeral business like your brother Joel?
JD - Well, some people are just better suited for that profession. Joel has the perfect demeanor and passion for that work.
HG - Please tell us, who the Tewksbury Lions are?
JD - The Tewksbury Lions Club is an organization that carries the strongest sense of pride for the town. We exist primarily to serve our community without any personal or financial gain. We are there to assist others who are in need and less fortunate than ourselves.
HG - Can anyone join the Lions?
JD - Anyone can join male or female, but it is usually by invitation from another member. And you have to have a strong desire to help others. You can get an application from any one of our members. And you have to come to at least two meetings. We meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 7pm and TJ Callahan's here in town.
HG - How do the Lions raise funds and/ or get donations?
JD - Anyone can make a donation to the Lions club by going to our website. But we hold a lot of raffles, and we just had our 26th annual golf tournament at the Tewksbury Country Club.
HG - What do the Lions do with the money raised?
JD - A lot of the money raised is to fund our scholarships. They are open to any eligible Tewksbury resident going to college. You can apply for the scholarship by visiting your school guidance counselor. We are also one of the top contributors to the Tewksbury Food Pantry giving them over $5000.00 a year. We contribute to many other charities here in town as well and have been actively trying to help Habitat for Humanity with handicap accessible projects.
HG - What about Helen Keller?
JD - The Lions have a very special relationship with Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Anne spent much of her youth at the State Hospital here in town. Helen Keller in 1925 challenged the Lions to become "Knights of the Blind" and asked us to play an active role in the battle against blindness. Lions international has become the largest service organization in the world to fight and challenge eye disease. We have raised over $355,000.00 for eye research. In addition, we also sponsor and provide free eye exams via the District Eye Mobile and at the annual Senior Center Health Fair.
HG - Can people donate anything besides money?
JD - We are always needing anything to help the handicap, elderly and physically disabled. We love to receive donations such as wheelchairs, motorized or not, canes and walkers, crutches or shower chairs and motorized beds. We take them and redistribute them to those in need. So if anyone has any of these items laying around in an attic or otherwise headed for the recycle buckets, please contact us, we can definitely use them.
HG - John, you have been in this town for a long time, what are your pet peeves about Tewksbury?
JD - The town is building, building, building, and not fixing any roads. Route 38 is a mess. Someone has to make an effort to get that main road fixed. Then there is the Tewksbury State Hospital. It has to be the biggest asset here in town and it is slowly going to pieces. Also flat roof schools in New England? In Tewksbury? What is the town waiting for to do something about them? And another thing, a lot of Tewksbury residents have lived here for a very long time and have raised many kids here, but our kids cannot afford to live here because everything from taxes to sewer and water rates are sky high. It is a shame to not be able to have your kids live in such a great community because they can't afford it. It's just too expensive.
HG - You have seen a lot of changes to the town over the years, what are some of your favorite?
JD - Well, Tewksbury is a large town with a small town feel. Similar to what my brother Joel said recently, I love being able to see someone I know everywhere I go. My favorite place in town is the Tewksbury Country Club and I am really looking forward to the new Wamesit Lanes opening up.
HG - What is your fondest memory living here?
JD - Graduating from Tewksbury High School in 1965. I still remember people from school and running into them now is another reason that I like Tewksbury so much.
There you have it. John Deputat. Honest. Speaks truthfully and from the heart. In talking with him about the Tewksbury Lions, he was very eager to let everyone know what they are and what they offer. I'm certainly glad to know about the scholarships they offer and hope some of you High School seniors will make a trip to the guidance office this year to inquire about them. If you are interested in joining the Lions Club, or are needing more information, head down to TJ Callahan's on a Wednesday night and check them out. Make it a point to see John Deputat and shake his hand.
Quick 5 - John Deputat
Favorite Childhood toy - Soap box cars
Sailboat or Speedboat - Speedboat
Favorite Comedian - John Belushi
I wish I could be a contestant on which game show - Family Feud
Favorite pastime - Golfing
(Hollie Gonzalez lives in Tewksbury with her husband and two children. She is very passionate about her town.)
Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yourtewksburytoday/
Follow us on Twitter at @TewksburyToday
Follow us on Instagram at YourTewksburyToday