ATTLEBORO — Tony Viveiros was lying in a rehabilitation center recently, recovering from surgery, when his wife Janine suggested they get dressed up and go out to eat.
The center allows some patients to leave for short periods of time if they are escorted, so Viveiros, 73, was happy to take a break from his routine and get out for a while.
Instead of a restaurant, however, he was taken to the Elks Hall in Attleboro, where the annual Blue Pride Palooza was being held to raise money for Attleboro High School.
There, Principal Bill Runey surprised Viveiros by honoring him with the Blue Pride Spirit of Community award as the 700 in attendance stood and cheered.
The greeting touched him, he said, and he choked up a bit.
“I broke down emotionally. I didn’t expect this in my later life. It was one of the biggest things to happen to me other than getting married and having kids,” he said.
The award was a surprise, to say the least.
“Nobody told me. I was the last one to know,” he said, recalling the events of two weeks ago.
Viveiros is a longtime devotee of causes benefiting Attleboro, the school system, and the community. He is known for his positive personality and self-deprecating humor.
He has overcome several serious medical issues over the years and most recently had a pacemaker put in his chest.
“Tony’s dedication, passion, and ability to get things done for the City of Attleboro is truly inspiring,” Runey said in presenting the award.
Runey pointed out that Viveiros has served the city in a number of political and civic positions, including city constable, parks commissioner, city councilor, and licensing board member.
An Attleboro High graduate from the Class of 1966, Viveiros volunteers with the Attleboro Alumni Association, is keeper of the yearbooks and helps organize the annual leaf rake to help veterans and shut-ins, Runey said.
He also volunteers at Attleboro Arts Museum events and was instrumental in helping with the Conniff family and their recognition of music composer Ray Conniff, an Attleboro native.
“Tony does anything in the interest of helping Attleboro High School. We are grateful for all Tony has done and will continue to do for our community. He embodies the spirit of Blue Pride,” Runey told the audience.