After joining the United States Army in 1965, Joseph G. Bella was sent to Vietnam after basic military training and preparation for his primary military occupational specialty in field artillery, returning to his hometown of Methuen, Massachusetts two years later. Upon his return, he prospered with automotive manufacturer Craig Systems in North Andover, Massachusetts, with the Internal Revenue Service, and with Western Electric as a reproduction room clerk and stock inventory clerk. During this time, Mr. Bella obtained an associate degree in liberal arts with a major in history from Northern Essex Community College in 1974, making the Dean’s list twice and being the first in his family to graduate from college.
Progressing in his career, Mr. Bella provided more than three decades of dedicated service to the Department of Employment and Training with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In this role, he assisted and provided counsel for veterans seeking employment and training. His efforts were noted by the American Legion, which awarded him twice with the American Legion Local Veteran’s Employment Representative of the Year in 1995 and 1998, given to individuals who have provided the most veterans with jobs in the state.
In addition to his distinguished career, Mr. Bella has been actively involved in his local community, having served the Methuen Historical Society as a board member, president and vice president, as well as commissioner of the Methuen Historical Commission. He has also been president of the Friends of Lawrence Heritage State Park and the Lawrence History Center and maintains membership with the Sons of Italy Lodge 902, St. Alfio Society and American Legion.
Mr. Bella’s interest in learning and preserving local history was greatly influenced by Ernest Mac, a local historian, and his uncle, Joseph Montalto, a World War II veteran who discovered a 1903 book in excellent condition, inspiring him to begin his collection of historical items. Likewise, he attributes his successful professional and civic career to his family and especially his mother, who was a member of the bicentennial committee in their town. In five years’ time, Mr. Bella’s goal is to maintain and keep historic districts in town historical, as well as remain active in his community.
Member, Sons of Italy Lodge 902, Methuen, (40 years)
Council, St. Alfio Society, Lawrence, Massachusetts
American Legion (30-40 years)
Methuen VFW (30-40 years)
President, Friends of Lawrence Heritage State Park, Massachusetts (10 years)
Former president, Lawrence History Center
American Legions Award, for placing the most veterans in the common world in the entire state, 1995, 1998
Commissioner, Methuen Historic District Commission
Chairman, Methuen Historical Commission (10 years)
Color Guard for the Memorial Day Parades
Secretary for the Lawrence Civil War Memorial Guard (9 years)
Involved in the Beautification Day every year in May before Memorial Day for the past (10+ years)
He and many volunteers place flags on all the veterans grave sites in 2 cemeteries placing thousands and thousands of flags every year