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BBA Honors Duke Farese

Jun 30, 2016 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

BBA President John Orthman presents Duke Farese with the Unsung Hero award for 2016

Every year the Bellingham Business Association bestows its “Unsung Hero” Award on a dedicated individual who goes above and beyond others in providing outstanding service and commitment to the Bellingham community, and this year is no exception. Louis “Duke” Farese was named the Bellingham Business Association’s Unsung Hero for 2016. Duke Farese has selflessly and graciously devoted his time over the past 22 years to sharing his love of computers with the students of the Paul J. Primavera Jr./Sr. High School.

At the award presentation, BBA President John Orthman said, “When I first saw the nominations, I asked, ‘Who is this person?’ because, trust me, being President of the BBA for as long as I have been, it’s a rare individual who I haven’t at least heard about. What is truly exciting about the 2016 hero is that Mr. Farese is the epitome of an Unsung Hero. While we usually present this award at one of our monthly dinner meetings, it was important to us that Duke receive this award in front of the audience that he has served the most and who have benefited the most from his generosity with his time and energy, the students, teachers and staff of the Paul J. Primavera Jr./Sr. High School.”
According to Primavera School Principal David Cutler, “Beyond being one of the most selfless human beings that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, this person has played a vital role in my life and the life of everyone he meets. His love, dedication and toughness reach far beyond that of any other person. His compassion for even the toughest kid is something almost divine, and most of all his level of pride in himself, his family and his volunteerism is what makes this person a most worthy candidate for the Unsung Hero Award. Not only has this person become a full-time member of our school faculty, but he has also become a mentor to all the students and staff of the Primavera School. And he does all this without any compensation. It has been a privilege to work with Mr. Farese on a regular basis.”

Born and raised in Milford, Farese was a member of the Algonquin High School Class of 1971 and a proud Friar graduating from Providence College in 1975 with a degree in Biology. Immediately upon graduation from college, Farese enlisted in the United States Army and later was selected for Officer Candidate School to further his career as a U.S. Army Chemical Corps officer.

Upon being medically discharged from the Army after roughly 10 years of faithful and dedicated service to his country, Mr. Farese maintained his role as a member of the research and development team at the Watertown Arsenal, where he had worked as a Captain in the Army until his health declined and he became fully disabled.
In true Duke fashion he was not able to sit idle for very long after leaving the Watertown Arsenal before he decided to volunteer his time and work at the Paul J. Primavera Jr./Sr. High School, initially teaching students how to repair/rebuild bicycles. One day, however, he was passing by the computer lab and noticed several computers with repair notes on them. He offered to help and that was the day his new program was born. He teaches the at-risk students how to repair computers that are all donated by outside sources so that they could then donate them to other groups and facilities that need technology but have limited resources.

In addition to Duke’s dedication to his country, he has had the pleasure of being married to Mrs. Jacquelyn Farese for over 37 years and raising two beautiful children, Bethany, age 35, and U.S. Army Captain Peter Farese, age 32.

A classic-car buff, Farese used to restore cars, and at the end of the award ceremony, one of the students proudly presented him with a really nice painting of his favorite car that the student had painted.
Farese said that he is honored to receive the award, but that his real reward is seeing the students learn and enjoy their time with him, and he is looking forward to moving into the new Keough building for the 2016-2017 school year.




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