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The retirement of “a tireless advocate”

Jay Pinette-2
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Veterans Service Officer Jay Pinette plans to leave his post next month

  For the last four years, Jay Pinette has worked several days a week out of Saugus Town Hall as the Veterans Service Officer (VSO), helping to make life less complicated for local veterans and their families. Pinette, 67, U.S. Marine veteran who lives in Wakefield, announced this week that he will be retiring, effective the middle of next month. He said he plans to work several weeks, helping to train his successor to provide a smooth transition. Mike Saunders, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, will start work on March 28.

  Local veterans group leaders praised Pinette’s service to the town and said he will be missed. “Jay has been a tireless advocate for the veterans of Saugus and beyond,” Saugus Veterans Council Commander Stephen L. Castinetti said this week.

  “He has become an integral member of the Saugus veterans community and I have extended a sincere invitation to Jay to continue his affiliation with the Saugus Veterans Council. Semper fi, Jay and thank you for your service and your commitment to veterans,” said Castinetti, a retired U.S. Navy captain.

  School Committee Member Joseph “Dennis” Gould, who has been involved in local veterans’ activities, called Pinette “a very strong Veteran supporter as VSO covering Saugus.”

  “Jay has spent many hours of his own time attending Veteran Council, Legion and VFW meetings, understanding the demographics and clients and always accessible to local veterans,” Gould said.

  “He did his role very professionally and with utmost dedication to those he served. He has been a very stabilizing member of the Roll to DC Committee,” he said.

  Pinette has been helping to organize an expenses-paid trip for local Vietnam War Era veterans to Washington, D.C., this fall to see “The Wall” and other monuments.

  He served in the Marines from 1973-1976 and as a reservist from 1976-1996. He was activated for service during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He served as an Operations/Communications Chief and was responsible for the leadership and management of Marines who served in a variety of technical and combat support roles. Pinette retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant in 1996. He has a BS in Management (1996) and an MBA in Operations Management (2000) from Bentley College.

  After serving in the military, Pinette spent 27 years in private business. He retired in 2017 from his career as a Senior Management/Principal Engineer from Thermo Cardiosystems, a medical device company that makes heart pumps for transplant patients. In March of 2018, he took the VSO position.

  Saunders will have close to three weeks to work with Pinette. Saunders is currently the school certifying officer at the Danvers campus of North Shore Community College.

  Previously, he worked as the veteran coordinator at Endicott College. He worked as a combat engineer while based in Fort Riley, Kansas. Saunders was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His duties included route clearance, house searches, munitions detonation, annual weapons qualifications and vehicle maintenance.

  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College in 2018.

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