Through stamps and smiles, Bolduc gave so much to kids
By Peter Jasinski
LEOMINSTER — When the late Bruce Bolduc approached the Boys & Girls Club with an idea of starting a stamp collecting group nine years ago, club staff weren’t optimistic.
“Are the kids going to really like this?” Unit Director Rocco Spagnuolo recalled asking him at the time. “We
appreciate you wanting to work with us, but I’m not sure the kids are going to get into the stamps.”
Bolduc and his stamp collection would be up against flashier activities like kickball and science projects, but it wasn’t long before he had amassed what Spagnuolo now refers to as a “loyal army” of pre-teen stamp collectors.
“At its peak, he had to turn kids away,” he said. “The kids liked the stamps, but I really think they were coming more for him.”
Bolduc’s Jan. 27 passing didn’t just signify a loss for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. It was also a blow to the many children who still thought he’d be coming back to run their stamp club later this year.
“He was so nice and sweet. He was one of my favorite staff members here, and I don’t have a lot of favorites,” said Sage Dean, a 12-year-old Fitchburg resident who has been going to the club for the last two years.
Dean owns one of the hundreds of albums given out to club members in the last decade. Like the others, it’s
personalized with her name and filled with dozens of stamps Bolduc gave her from his own collection.
Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Hartnett estimates Bolduc gave away thousands of stamps during his time with the
club, but it wasn’t all Bolduc donated. He also supplied walkie-talkies to club staff and paid for the basketballs
the club league used this fall.
After totaling the amount of time he dedicated, Hartnett calculated that Bolduc would have logged roughly
2,000 hours of volunteering, making him the longest serving volunteer the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and
Leominster has ever had.
“He was heartwarming, kind. He had a soft voice and was never yelling,” said Isabella Williams, an 11-year-old
“He had a good sense of humor,” added Hailey Joseph, a Leominster 12-year-old Bolduc convinced to join the club four years ago. Neither girl had been involved in stamp collecting prior to meeting Bolduc, but they were hooked after seeing the number of stamps he had from countries all over the world. They frequently played a game where he would
have them guess the countries each stamp was from and often teased them about the answers they came up with.
“My favorite moments were that we shared a lot of laughs with him and those are moments that stay with you for the rest of your life,” said Williams.
Without anyone to coordinate the club, the stamp collecting group is currently on-hold, but staff are looking for someone to serve as a replacement.
“We’re actively trying to find someone who has that passion and wants to be involved,” said Hartnett. “It’s
important to keep that legacy of Bruce and his club because he was here for so many years.” Both Williams and Joseph said they look forward to joining the club again if staff can find a new volunteer. Dean was not as sure.
“It just wouldn’t be the same,” she said.