Created to recognize remarkable acts of dedication and service to veterans and members of the military, the Minuteman Service Award is presented annually to a deserving individual and business.
This year’s recipients of the prestigious honor, Joe LeBlanc, director of veterans services for North Andover and Boxford, and Paradise Dental Associates, LLC, epitomize the virtues of this award each and every day. They will be celebrated during the Salute to Veterans breakfast on Nov. 9 at Danversport.
A combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Army Reserves, LeBlanc is a tireless advocate for veterans and their families across the region.
During his tenure as veterans services director, LeBlanc has performed countless acts to call attention to this community and ensure that they receive the recognition they deserve.
Among the measures LeBlanc has undertaken: lobbying for North Andover and Boxford to be named as Purple Heart communities in recognition of the towns’ wounded veterans; refurbishing the World War I Memorial to correct misspelled names; working with the Lawrence Exchange Club to host a “Field of Honor” in North Andover; and coordinating a COVID-19 vaccination clinic with the Bedford Veterans Hospital and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2104.
“Through his tireless advocacy, attention to detail, selfless service (constantly working beyond and outside of his duty hours) he has interdicted countless instances of veterans and service members in crisis and at risk … and in doing so, has influenced countless positive outcomes in what would have been tragic and disastrous situations,” wrote Richard Barbato in his nomination. “Joe consistently goes above and beyond his duty description, always placing the mission first, and placing the needs of those who served and those still serving the nation ahead of his own.”
Barbato feted LeBlanc’s caring disposition and compassion, which he called “simply unparalleled within the Veteran Service Officer community.”
Paradise Dental Associates, LLC, in Salem has a long history of honoring the military. In previous years, they hosted a day in November where veterans could receive free care at their office. Today, the dentists work with the VA department to provide dental treatment for free, or at a reduced cost, for all veterans in the community.
The practice, owned by Drs. Helyne and Stephen Hamelburg, also hold donation drives for the troops. In the past, Dr. Helyne Hamelburg has traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide free dental care to villagers.
“By providing free dental treatment, Helyne not only promotes the importance of dental health, but also provides veterans with much needed services that improve their quality of life,” Dr. Lichelle Aldana wrote in her nomination of Paradise Dental Associates. “By collaborating with local businesses and other organizations, Helyne is able to bring focus to the needs of veterans in the community.”
For more information about the breakfast, or to learn about sponsoring this special event, visit our Salute to Veterans page.