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Our Name
 
Our program is named after John B. DeValles (Joao Baptista DeValles). His ideals of community service are emulated in daily contact with children and parents. Following is his story:

BIOGRAPHY: JOAO BAPTISTA DEVALLES

Reverend John B. DeValles was a man of peace in a time of war. He was known as the, "Angel of the Trenches", for his valiant deeds in caring for the wounded and dying on the battle fields of France during World War I.

He was born in St. Miguel, Azores of Azorean and Cape Verdean heritage and was brought to New Bedford by his family when he was 2 years old. Father DeValles attended local schools before studying for the priesthood.

In New Bedford he served at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and was later pastor of St. John the Baptist Church. A master of six languages, Father DeValles opened the first Portuguese parochial school at Espirito Santo Church in Fall River. He was known for his interest in education and radiated human kindness in all his endeavors.

In 1917 he was appointed as a Knights of Columbus chaplain attached to the 104th Regiment of the 26th Division of the United States Infantry. In 1918 he was appointed a chaplain in the regular army with the rank of first lieutenant.

Chaplain DeValles served 18 months in the war and spent much of that time in No-Man's Land searching for wounded and dying soldiers. He administered to the needs of both Allied and German soldiers. Father John, as he was known to the troops, risked his life many times. His exploits became legendary with many published accounts of his deeds.

When he did not return to the trenches on one occasion searchers found him next to a dead soldier he was trying to help. He was unconscious, the effect of a mustard gas attack. Father DeValles continued to serve well even though his injuries caused his health to deteriorate. In 1919 Father John returned to the United States and spent the remaining months of his life in and out of hospitals until his death in May of 1920 at the age of 41.
Father DeValles earned France's Croux de Guerre and Legion of Honor as well as United States Army's Distinguished Service Cross among other awards.

Father John was given full military honors at his funeral with an outpouring of tributes from national leaders and local people who were touched by his presence.

In October of 1920 the relatively new Katherine Street School was renamed in his honor. The ceremonies were attended by a large cross section of the community showing his influence on people of diverse backgrounds.

John Baptista DeValles loved his country and the country loved him. He was a man of kindness, a man of education and a man of peace. His ideals should be an example for the children of the DeValles Memorial School-Age Day Care Program and the surrounding community to emulate. We continue his legacy and honor his deeds with the name of our facilities.
 

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