There is going to be a very special dedication on Ned’s Point on Friday, August 8 to unveil a bronze plaque and a sitting bench in honor of Mattapoisett’s late Milton Silveira – a project in the making by one of Silveira’s young friends and fans, Alex Craig, a sixth-grader at Old Hammondtown Elementary School.
Alex’s mother, Julie Craig, said Alex has been busy collecting donations and consulting with Silveira’s family for months, and he is excited to present the bronze plaque before the people of Mattapoisett and to Silveira’s surviving relatives.
When in the third grade, Alex chose to represent Silveira in a presentation about famous people from Massachusetts. Alex reached out to Silveira, who was in his nineties when the correspondence between the two began, to learn more about the local National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chief engineer.
“They struck up a friendship,” said Ms. Craig. “And after Milton died last year, Alex wanted to do something for him.” And because Milton loved Ned’s Point, Craig said, it was decided that a bronze plaque honoring Silveira should be placed at the site beside the sea, along with a bench dedicated to Silveira.
Alex said he never got to meet Silveira in person, but their phone conversations made a lasting impression on the boy.
“I think he was a really great man and that’s why I’ve been doing this whole project,” said Alex. He said Silveira’s sister helped design the plaque. “It’s a pretty big plaque … and it’s just a great little biography about him and it has a little picture of a shuttle on it,” said Alex. During the dedication ceremony on Friday, Alex said he is going to tell the Town about who Silveira was and why they should remember him.
“It was so nice to hear Alex and Milton have these conversations over the phone,” said Craig. She added that it was a great experience for Alex, and she is pleased that Alex has chosen to pursue this gesture of respect toward Silveira.
Silveira oversaw the development of the Little Joe II, an unmanned space launch vehicle. He also contributed to other programs, including the Apollo mission.
“We just think Mattapoisett should know about [Milton],” said Craig.
Silveira was born in Mattapoisett in 1929 and graduated from Fairhaven High School. He died July 11, 2013 after 36 years of service for NASA.
“I’m very proud of Alex,” said Craig. “And it’s really unbelievable how much support the community has given.”
The dedication ceremony on Friday, August 8 at Ned’s Point is scheduled for 11:00 am. Alex, his family, Silveira’s family, town officials, and members of the community will all gather to honor Silveira’s legacy.
By Jean Perry