PEPPERELL -- If above-and-beyond or giving were the second and third on a list to describe Pepperell resident Bob Lambert, they are superseded only by modesty.
This is because much of the work Lambert discusses is his "official" stuff -- that he did serving on the Board of Health. But it's the modesty that is regaled by those in Town Hall, who wrote about it in his dedication in the 2012 town report: "Bob has always lived his life in the philosophy that if he can help others in need, he will do anything he can to make a difference.'
"Pepperell's been awful good to me," Lambert said. "The people are real nice, and some of the best people, I think, are those that work for the town."
He went on to cite the Fire Department and its fast response time, the police and their ability to stay sharp and trained and the Highway Department, for is relentless work maintaining roads in any weather. But Lambert is among them too, and in some ways still is.
For nine years he served on the Board of Health, six as chairman. There were loads of complaints, site visits, court visits, food inspections and landlord-tenant situations, Lambert says. Many times, he had to do some refereeing, and coaching of neighborly arguments.
Pepperell's Board of Health has a lot of power, Lambert adds, but also a lot of responsibility to both enforce and provide.
"When people come before the board, I always tried to work with them, treat them the way I'd want to be treated,"
In addition to serving on the board, Lambert worked as health inspector for several years. It was a part-time job that he treated like an on-call position, often spending nights and weekends meeting with residents to accommodate concerns.
"When you are working with people, and not against them, it's enjoyable," he said. "I should've never resigned."
Has he? During his tenure, Lambert said he made friends with many board members and people involved in the office.
Lambert sometimes visits the BOH office and, according to BOH Secretary Sandra Grogan, is still a great resource, a go-to for consulting on just about anything.
"If they needed my help, I'd be there for them," Lambert said. "They are always asking me how I am doing, so I return the favor."
Years in the construction and real-estate industries got him versed in regulations and bylaws that he would interpret and use on the board. Lambert Construction, his excavation and developing company, built many houses in town, making him a regular visitor to the Building Inspector, Conservation Commission, DPW and elsewhere in Town Hall.
"They were always a big help, anytime I needed something," he said.
Lambert Construction began in Chelmsford, the town he was born and raised in, and grew to be a partnership with his sons, Bobby and Michael. Lambert has always stressed using local entities for contracting HVAC, electrical and landscaping services and local banks for financing the developments.
As Lambert Construction continued build in neighboring towns, a house in Pepperell caught his eye.
"I had not only built places there, but bought and rented several for my children, then I thought 'let's move closer to the kids,'" he said. "I got to really like it here."
The town's rural character reminded him of some of his favorite things, hunting, skimobiling, canoeing, fishing, growing up with animals, and he chose to hold off building on one parcel of land, near Unkety Brook and the Dunstable line, and donate it to the town.
"They were things I did when I was young, and I wanted to be sure the land was used for that," he said.
It wasn't all he gave. The Pepperell Aid to Community and Home food pantry, formerly located at the Knights of Columbus, required licensing and inspecting, he said, but also deserved to look nicer.
Lambert donated carpet cleaning supplies and wood for baseboards and continued to give regularly, providing wreathes, warm coats and meals around the holiday season.
As the Fourth of July Celebration grew in popularity, Lambert began noticing more and more out-of-towners gathering to march in the parade.
"I started opening Town Hall for them, so people had a place to go and rest or use the bathroom," he said.
Lambert, humorously, sums up his style in two words: third eye. He said some friends had come up to him saying that his photo on page one of the town report had two eyes.
"The third eye is the one I use to look out for everybody, to be sure things are going good and to notice if something is going wrong," he said.
These days, Lambert is still helping when he can and focusing on caring for his wife, Evelyn.
"There are no words to describe her, she is wonderful, excellent," he said "Till now I never realized all the work she has done."
He gets help from his two boys and daughter, Robin, and even more, he says, from his seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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