SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 29, 2011

Mix-up squared away

Square was rededicated to the wrong veteran

(Continued)

Lois Healey was stunned by the mistake. She still lives in Beverly, as does one of her daughters, as well as Frederick's two sisters and several nieces and nephews.

But Lois Healey said she is not upset at anyone. She called Collins a "lovely, lovely man" and said she felt bad for Heather Rojo, Joseph Healey's great-great-great-granddaughter, who came down from Londonderry, N.H., for the Veterans Day ceremony.

"There are no hard feelings on my end," Lois Healey said. "It's just a mistake that happened."

Lois Healey said the error never would have occurred if the original Healey Square sign still stood. That sign said "F.D. Healey Square," referencing her husband's initials. Lois Healey said she asked the city to replace the sign sometime in the 1990s because it had been damaged by the weather. The replacement sign said only "Healey Square."

Collins, the public works commissioner, said he was "heartbroken" when he learned of the mistake. He has already begun the process of replacing the Joseph Healey Square sign with a new Frederick Healey Square sign, including details of his service.

Like many of his friends, Frederick Healey quit Beverly High School to volunteer in World War II. In Korea, he served as a Navy chief hospital corpsman and received a letter of commendation after being wounded in action.

According to the citation, his Marine infantry company was under heavy artillery fire when Healey "unhesitatingly moved into the exposed area and administered aid to the many wounded Marines. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he remained in the fire-swept zone and continued rendering aid to the men until each had been evacuated to the rear."

Frederick Healey went on to serve in the Vietnam War. When he came home, he served as commander of American Legion Post 331 and worked as a custodian at Ayers Ryal Side School. He died of lung cancer in 1974, at age 49.

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