The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home has officially embarked on a new face and mission to help care for veterans and their
Gov. Charlie Baker and Speaker Bob DeLeo lead the way in breaking ground for the new Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home this past Monday, Oct. 29. The new Center will eventually replace the Quigley Memorial Hospital. It is a state and federal project costing $199 million.
families, breaking ground Monday on a $199 million Community Living Center (CLC) that will provide modern accommodations and replace the old Quigley Memorial Hospital.
Gov. Charlie Baker joined Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and veterans of the United States Armed Forces for the groundbreaking of the new long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
The current facility will continue to be fully operational, caring for 154 veterans, during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2022.
Some 65 percent of the funding for the new facility will come from the Federal government, which approved monies for the project earlier this summer.
“The new long term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will improve the quality of services and care provided to the Commonwealth’s men and women who have answered the call of duty and served our nation,” said Baker. “Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for this country, and it is our duty to care for them with honor and dignity.”
House Speaker Bob DeLeo was also on hand and has been a friend to the Home for years. Gov. Baker gave credit to DeLeo for getting funding through the Legislature so that the federal application was prepared quickly.
“Having been in the Legislature 25 years now, you, Mr. Speaker, own a big piece of that and we are all extremely grateful for this work and all the work you do for veterans in the Commonwealth,” he said. “This place will be a true testament to our investment to our veterans.”
DeLeo said the Home does have a special place in his heart, and serves veterans from his district as well.
“I am so pleased this project is underway and moving forward,” he said.
In May 2017, Governor Baker HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-releases-fiscal-year-2018-capital-budget-plan” t “_blank” announced plans for a new long-term care Community Living Center, which was included in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 capital investment plan, and in November 2017, HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-bill-to-fund-new-facility-at-chelsea-soldiers-home-and-high-speed” t “_blank” signed legislation authorizing funding needed to advance the project.
The Administration has also received funding authorization from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the project. The federal funding was awarded through the VA’s State Home Construction Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to 65 percent of construction costs for approved projects. The Administration, with strong support from the Legislature, plans to spend approximately $70 million net of federal reimbursement on the project.
The Home has long suffered from having open wards at the Quigley, and it was a point of contention for federal authorities – as health care payments are not allowed to go to facilities with old, open wards. With funding on the line, the Home was able to secure the project funding. This will allow the Home to now have private rooms and modern facilities for the residents there.
“This facility truly is a fitting tribute to our veterans who have served our nation,” said Supt. Cheryl Poppe. “With this building construction, we honor their sacrifice…The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea is honored to serve Massachusetts veterans, and this groundbreaking reaffirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to veterans of yesterday, today, and for generations to come.”
HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/orgs/soldiers-home-in-chelsea” t “_blank” The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home. Chelsea Soldiers’ Home currently has capacity for 136 beds for long-term care.
The ALS Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill, run by the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL), will host its 10th
In its milestone 10th year, the Leonard Florence ALS Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill is being coordinated by Maura Graham, who came to the LFCFL in January. She said they are in the middle of crunch time for the Sept. 30 walk, but are excited how things are coming together. The walk is expected to attract residents of all ages, including several high school students from Chelsea, Everett and Malden Catholic.
annual walk this coming Sept. 30, and new Director Maura Graham said she is ready for another great event.
“This is my first year as walk director, but I’ve had the good fortune of having the previous walk director sty on to consult and help me,” said Graham. “Now we have 10 years of walks and so we have some history under our belts and it comes together really well. It’s huge for us. It’s our only fundraise at Leonard Florence and 100 percent of the proceeds go towards resident care.”
The Walk for Living benefits ALS and MS patients at the LFCFL, and helps them to be able to do unique activities. It is the only fundraiser for the home, which exclusively cares for those with ALS and MS. As an example, last year several residents with ALS were able to use proceeds from the walk to go to Disney World in Florida.
The walk is a family activity, and Graham said they have a lot of fun things to do in addition to the walk for families and young adults.
Matt Siegel of Kiss 108 will once again be the emcee of the event, this being his fourth year of participating in the walk.
In addition, Phyllis and Alan Bolotin of Swampscott have been named the Walk for Living Ambassadors this year.
“They have been very good to the Leonard Florence over the years and they have graciously accepted the roles of Walk Ambassadors,” said Graham. “They’ve been wonderful and have a huge team coming.”
Also coming will be hundreds of students.
One of the unique things about the Walk for Living is the fact that high school students from Chelsea High, Everett High and Malden Catholic participate and learn about ALS. Many eventually befriend the residents and gain an understanding of what it is to live with ALS or MS.
“Everett, Chelsea and Malden Catholic will all be participating and will have a big group,” said Graham. “Malden Catholic will be bringing a large group because they are honoring Brother Joe (Comber), who lives here at the Leonard Florence. The fact that so many young people participate is wonderful and shows a great sense of unity with the residents here and the community. It is multi-generational.”
Another aspect of the walk is that many of the residents who are benefitting from the fundraising participate side-by-side with the fundraisers. Many even bring their own teams.
“It is a rare thing to be able to walk side-by-side with the people you’re helping,” she said. “It’s a sense of camaraderie.”
Graham came to the LFCFL in January and previously worked in public relations and marketing for the Cambridge Office of Tourism and the Harvard Square Business Association.
“The minute I walked in to the Leonard Florence, I felt it was a great fit,” she said.
Graham lives in Melrose and has two young children.
To sign up for the Walk for Living, go to WalkForLiving.org. Registrations are also accepted the day of the event. Registration is $20 and kids 12 and under are free. Students are $10.
The event begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 30, 165 Captain’s Row.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced last Friday that the state has secured approximately $70 million in federal funding for the new 154-bed Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home – federal funding that pretty much gives the green light to proceed on the project.
State leaders have made a priority of designing and funding the $199 million project, but getting the federal funding was always a crucial piece of the puzzle that had to come through.
On Friday, the Veteran’s Administration State Home Construction Grant Program announced it would provide a 65 percent reimbursement of approved construction projects, including the Soldiers’ Home.
“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to protect our freedoms and we are proud to see this project move forward as we continue to provide them with great care and dignity,” said Baker. “We are grateful to the VA for their support of Massachusetts’ veterans and this funding allows us to construct a state of the art facility that will be a model for future veteran homes across the country.”
The Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will provide 154 “home-like” rooms for veterans in accordance with VA standards of design, which promotes greater accessibility, mobility, and enhanced quality of life. Services will include physical and occupational therapy, recreational activities and greater access to the outdoors. The current facility, the Quigley Memorial Long Term Care Center, will continue to be fully operational during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2021.
“We appreciate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ approval to replace the existing long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Campus,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco A. Ureña. “In addition to approving our replacement project, the VA granted the Commonwealth $129 million in matching funds.”
In May 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration announced state funding for the new long-term care facility as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget plan, and in November, Governor Baker signed legislation to fund the project.
“I am thrilled that the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will be receiving federal funding for its new Community Living Center,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “The House has been a longtime supporter of this project and, as a neighbor of the Soldiers’ Home, I have been proud to support the residents and their needs throughout my tenure in the House. This financing will allow the Soldiers’ Home to further improve and enhance the vital care that they provide our veterans.”
Governor Baker was joined at his 2018 State of the Commonwealth Address by U.S. Navy Veteran Tom Miller, who lives at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Director of Nursing Debbie Antonelli and Superintendent Cheryl Poppe to celebrate the Administration’s commitment to this necessary funding.
“This funding will allow us to provide our veterans with a long-awaited updated home that will enhance their quality of life with increased privacy and greater access to services,” said Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “Our veterans deserve the very best, and this home will complement the quality care our veterans receive here at the Soldiers’ Home. We are grateful for the support of the Baker-Polito Administration for this opportunity.”
The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home.
Kathryn McKenna was in the middle of reinventing herself – getting into peak physical condition – when her life took an abrupt turn to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
McKenna, a life-long Salem resident with deep roots in that city, now lives at the Dapper McDonald House in the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL) on Admirals Hill – and she couldn’t be happier and more hopeful.
On Sunday, she and a huge contingent of family and friends will participate in the ever-popular Walk for Living on the campus of LFCFL and on Admirals Hill. The walk is expected to attract 1,000 or more people raising money to help expand opportunities at the home – which is considered on the forefront of facilities in the world for treating and managing ALS.
“When I envision a Leonard Florence resident with ALS, Kathryn McKenna was the ideal candidate,” said Barry Berman, CEO. “That’s because Kathryn has a zest for life and living at the Leonard Florence allows her to continue living a very active and engaged and dignified life. We all realize that if Kathryn was in a traditional nursing home, she would be leading a much different life. Our staff are experts in understanding the nature of the disease, thus offering our residents the highest quality of life possible.”
McKenna led an active life for certain. The son of a famed basketball coach at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, she was always in top shape and active – known as a chatter box.
She was a flight attendant, was multi-lingual, traveled the world and worked at the Lahey Clinic.
That active lifestyle was cut out from under her starting in 2014 when she noticed changes. She was diagnosed in 2015, but the degenerative disease has not taken completely taken away her active nature – especially since coming to the LFCFL in January.
“It was very hard to leave my apartment in Salem overlooking the Harbor, but I had to do it,” she said. “it was the best decision I ever made. I’m very independent. I was very chatty and that has changed, but I still get my point across…I believe in a cure by 2020.”
Many of the things that McKenna and the other residents at the two ALS homes at the Leonard Florence would not be afforded them at other facilities. Designed by resident Steve Saling, who has ALS, the homes are customized with technology and the staff is trained specially to meet the needs of those with ALS.
That combination, plus a very active and understanding administration, has led to remarkable achievements in quality of life for individuals who were written off in the past.
McKenna, 60, said she had been inspired by a co-worker at Leahy to go back to college and finish her degree in 2013. She decided to major in Sports Science. While working two jobs, exercising with 20 year olds and taking care of her elderly mother – the active woman began to notice some inconsistencies.
“I knew something was wrong in 2014,” she said. “My speech was getting impaired. One day I was working out and my colleague, who was so nice, noticed and said, ‘Kathryn, you don’t have to do anymore.’ I was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, but I still had a semester of school left until graduation. I had promised my dad I would finish, so I went back…It was hard during that semester, but I wanted to persevere.”
And that she did, graduating from Salem State in 2015 with her degree.
Now, with that same die-hard spirit, she keeps focused on eating and attitude.
“The doctor told me when I was early on that appetite and attitude would determine my quality of life,” she said. “I work very hard to keep my appetite up and my attitude positive.”
She and many other residents of LFCFL and the community will bring that same positive, can-do attitude to Admirals Hill on Sunday, where critical fundraising and fun are set to take place.
“The walk certainly helps raise money, but it also gives our residents a sense of well-being when they see how many people that do care about their living situation,” said Berman. “We are now working on opening our third residence, but obviously that will take time with the fundraising.”
The LFCFL Walk for Life will begin registration on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 8 a.m., with the Walk beginning at 10 a.m. A celebration will follow.
State officials made their first presentation of the proposed Community Living Center at the Soldiers’ Home, a project that will replace the Quigley Hospital and require the removal of the iconic Soldiers’ Home water tower.
The $199 million project, some 66 percent of which could be federally funded, has the makings of improving the living conditions of those in the long-term care portion of the Home – taking them from open wards that are no longer permissible to private rooms with social areas arranged in “houses.” However, to date, and through a large part of the meeting Thursday night, Aug. 3, the overall project has been overshadowed by the potential loss of the water tower.
Some residents have voiced approval for the project, but want those building it to see if they can save the tower or come up with a similar iconic structure. Other residents have started a very popular online petition to ‘Save the Chelsea Water Tower,’ and it has caught on.
On Thursday night, many of the voices of the veterans, who have yet to be heard, resonated.
“I guarantee you a few years after it’s gone…we’ll barely remember it,” said Daniel Heagan. “You’ll say, ‘I know there was a water tower there, but I don’t even remember what color it is.’ Please accept this change. It’s for the best of the veterans. Please go along with it. This is a positive change for the men and women who represented you in combat. You won’t know it’s gone in a few years.”
Tom Miller, who has lived at the Home for 11 years and is a member of the Honor Guard, said the priority is now the veterans.
“The water tower provided some great memories,” he said. “Right now the priority is to build a new Quigley Hospital. That needs to be the focus. We can always have those memories. The Historical Society will have wonderful photographs. We can have a party when it comes down to celebrate what it meant. But it has to come down.”
However, many long-time Chelsea residents said they hoped there could be a compromise.
“When I come over the Tobin Bridge and have people in the car I point to the tower and tell people that is where I live,” said School Committeeman Rich Maronski. “You can see the tower from East Boston. That’s where I live. The residents really wish if you could preserve it or move it, that would be great. The veterans health care comes first, but we wonder if there is a chance to do something.”
Councillor Matt Frank said he loves the Soldiers’ Home and all that it represents. He said he believes its time to support the veterans to get the new home, but he also said he hopes there can be some accommodation for the tower.
“Sometimes emotions do matter and I think it’s for the best of the veterans community to be visible to everyone around like they are with the tower,” he said. “You see it every day. If you lose something that’s such a visual reminder, people would drive by without knowing what this place is…My biggest fear is the Solders’ Home could be lost in the shuffle. I think we need to take (resident) emotions into account.”
Some in the audience suggested replacing it with a “ginormous” flag that could be seen from downtown Boston, as the tower is.
Francisco Urena, secretary of Veterans Affairs, led the meeting and said that they are listening to the public and the residents. Both he and Supt. Cheryl Poppe said the status quo with open wards must be replaced, as they get marked deficient frequently and could lose crucial funding.
To weigh in, the state has established an e-mail to submit comments. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The passing this week of Glen Campbell, the country singer who crossed over into the pop genre in the late 1960s with hit records such as By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, and many others, marks the end of an era for those of a certain (older) generation.
His records were both timely and timeless. Whether singing of lost-love (By the Time I Get to Phoenix) or about a soldier at war (Galveston) or of lost youth (The Dreams of the Everyday Housewife), Glen Campbell’s songs (many written by Jimmy Webb) spoke to the human condition.
In addition to his singing ability, Glen Campbell also was a superb guitarist, who performed as a sessions musician on many hit records for artists including Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the Beach Boys before embarking on his own career.
Despite his success, Campbell himself was not immune to the vicissitudes of life. He was married four times and his battles with alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease were well-known.
For those of us who were youngsters in the late 1960s and 70s, Glen Campbell’s songs were ubiquitous and crossed generations. His TV variety show, similar to others of those years, such as the Johnny Cash Show, The Smothers Brothers, and Laugh-In, were watched by the entire family in our living rooms on the one TV set in our household. His passing evokes bittersweet memories from our childhood and of our loved ones who also have passed in the years since.
Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home (CJNH), the flagship property of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, recently completed a spectacular $16 million renovation. Residents, families, friends and community officials joined Chelsea Jewish Lifecare to celebrate this tremendous milestone on Wednesday, June 21 at Lafayette Avenue in Chelsea.
Cutting the ribbon at the ceremony signaling the completion of the $16 million renovation project at the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home are, from left, Gilda Richman, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL) chairwoman of the board, Betsy Mullen, CJL chief operating officer, Edward Stewart, Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home executive director, Adam Berman, CJL president, and Barry Berman, CJL chief executive officer.
Founded in 1919 by Lena Goldberg, the original goal of CJNH was to create a welcoming home for neighboring elders. Now, nearly 100 years later, the concept has come full circle. The completely renovated five story building reflects a legacy Green House® skilled nursing model, with kitchens on every floor, warm and spacious gathering spaces and an abundance of glass and natural light. The residence also features a new café, rehab gym, chapel and courtyard. It is a far cry from a traditional nursing home.
A Skilled Nursing Residence that Feels like Home
“What’s so unique about our model is that we’ve combined contemporary design elements with the traditional concept of making one’s home as warm and inviting as possible.” He added, “In essence, we are going back to our roots.”
Traditional nursing homes rely upon one central kitchen to prepare food for the entire facility. At CJNH, each of the three residential floors features two modern and aesthetically appealing kitchens, which is an integral part of the renovation. The aroma of freshly-cooked food on every floor truly reinforces the home concept. Residents have choices of what they eat – and when they eat it. Living rooms with fireplaces and spacious dining rooms complete the area, providing a warm and comfortable space for residents to gather and enjoy good food.
In terms of the layout, the lower lobby houses the chapel and staff offices. A café and bakery, rehab gym, and salon and spa are all located on the main lobby. There are three floors on the upper level, which can accommodate up to 120 residents.
The Nursing Home of the Future
CJNH is more than just a renovated skilled nursing facility; it reflects an exciting trend in long-term senior care. “We believe this model of care has the potential to change the face of nursing homes throughout the country,” explains Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “The home environment can easily be replicated by other skilled nursing facilities, vastly improving the quality of life for our nation’s elders.”
About Chelsea Jewish Lifecare
Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, a highly respected leader in senior living, employs over 1200 people and provides care to over 800 individuals daily, with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, MA. Offering a full continuum of services, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (www.chelseajewish.org) is redefining senior care and re-envisioning what life should be like for those living with disabling conditions. The eldercare community includes a wide array of skilled and short-term rehab residences, ALS and MS specialized care residences, traditional and specialized assisted living options, memory care, independent living, adult day health, geriatric care management, home care, personal care and hospice agencies that deliver customized and compassionate care.
Excited residents and participants take off under the balloon arch at the beginning of last year’s LFCFL Walk for Living. This year’s walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25.
The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL), the only urban model skilled nursing Green House in the world caring for individuals with ALS – was opening a second home for individuals living with ALS.
Within days, the new Dapper McDonald ALS Residence was filled with a diverse mix of residents in terms of ages, occupations and geographic locations. These residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, are now able to live more independently by controlling the lights, turning on the TV, opening doors and raising window shades – all through the use of their eyes.
The 8th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support these neurological specialty residences and its residents, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. at 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill. The Dapper McDonald ALS Residence marks the third neurological specialty residence within the award-winning Leonard Florence Center. The Steve Saling ALS Residence and the Slifka MS Residence opened in 2010. The revolutionary technology, dedicated support staff and nurturing home environment enable the residents to live as independently as possible.
“This year’s Walk for Living will honor Bill and Sharon Stein; major benefactors of our ALS Residences,” said Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “Their extreme generosity has changed the lives of our pALS.”
He added, “We also wish to thank our local communities, businesses, residents and their families. Clearly, their support of the Walk, year after year, is truly invaluable.”
Beloved radio personality Matt Siegel, host of “Matty in the Morning” on KISS 108 will once again act as emcee and kick-off the two-mile walk. Major corporate sponsors include Donoghue, Barrett & Singal, Lundgren Management (AHOA), M&T Bank, Kayem Foods Incorporated, ShiftGear, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, A-1 Lighting Service Company, Genzyme and Eastern Salt.
Independent Newspaper Group is the media sponsor.
Immediately following the walk, there will be a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. There is a $10 donation fee to participate in the Walk, which includes a Walk for Living tee shirt, the BBQ and all the activities. Registration begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 25; the Walk begins at 10 a.m.
The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.
Without a doubt, the extraordinary ALS and MS residents reflect the very essence of the Walk – and the Center. Ten years after his ALS diagnosis, Patrick O’Brien, produced and directed TransFatty Lives, which won the coveted “Top Audience Award” at the prestigious Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, among other honors. Steve Saling, an architect who helped design the Center, was told to he had two to five years to live at the time he was diagnosed with ALS in 2008; today Steve travels throughout the country, giving presentations and speeches through a voice activated computer. Bonnie Berthiaume, the first multiple sclerosis resident to move into the Leonard Florence Center, noted that the LFCL changed her life by giving her the freedom to attend Red Sox games, the theatre and weekly outings.
Tony Epifani, 47, a World Cup Soccer player from Syracuse, whose wife, son and daughter reside in New York, was confined to one room day after day, ultimately feeling lost and disconnected from the world. Now, after moving to the Dapper McDonald Residence, he is fully ensconced in the day-to-day activities at the Center. Together, these ALS & MS residents demonstrate how they live life to the very fullest every single day.
“I am excited to emcee the 8th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living,” said Matt Siegel. “The Leonard Florence Center for Living residents are an inspiration to us all, with their courage, determination, humor and zest for living.”
Support the ALS & MS Walk for Living by sponsoring or joining a team, or making a much-needed donation at www.walkforliving.org. For more information, call Joelle Smith at 617-409-8973 or email email@example.com.
He grew up in the Central Avenue housing development, attended Shurtleff School, Chelsea High School, and Salem State University before launching his dynamic career and becoming a highly respected executive who built four highly successful companies.
Katzman continues to achieve in the world of business as a general partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures.
The Chabad of Merrimack Valley-Boston honored Katzman’s life of achievement, generosity, and kindness at its Annual Community Breakfast May 17 at the Bostonian Hotel.
Making it an even prouder moment for Elliot was the fact that his father, Myer Katzman, a resident at the Cohen Florence Levine Estates Assisted Living, was also honored at the breakfast.
Elliot Katzman’s longtime Chelsea friends, Mike Zullo and Tom Faitel, were among the guests who came to honor the former CHS track standout.
Katzman was typically humble in his acceptance speech, thanking Jon Hirschtick for his special friendship that began 20 years ago.
He thanked his wife, Donna (Frangiamone), calling his high school sweetheart “the heart and soul of our family.”
“If my mother were here, she would point out that from our first date, Donna gave me purpose and motivation to build a future together,” Katzman told the crowd that filled the function hall at the hotel.
He also thanked his father and mother-in-law, Chelsea residents Jack and Mary Frangiamone, who looked on proudly from the family table in front of the podium.
“I couldn’t ask for better parents in-law,” said Katzman.
He also thanked his sons and daughter-in-law, Matt, Katie, Dave and Emily. “I couldn’t be more proud of Matthew and david and the men they have become.”
Katzman lauded his father, Myer, “the man of the hour, the real honoree” at the impressive breakfast.
“While I received a wonderful formal education, much of what I accomplished in life is the result of the love and support from my parents and grandparents, and special life lessons I received simply by observing my dad,” he said.
“My father married Marilyn Rosenthal in 1955 and they settled in Chelsea. My father was a devoted husband and father. He has always been a dedicated father to my brother [Scott] and me.”
He recalled his father’s main job working at Revere Smoked Fish, which later become Sealect Foods, where he worked for over 50 years. He told the guests of the respect his father gained from customers.
“Today my father is thriving at the Leonard Florence Assisted Living,” said Katzman. “He says it’s the nicest place he ever lived. There are recreation activities and the staff makes him feel special and respected. I want to thank Barry Berman and Shelly and her husbad, Jimmy, and Kate Kelly, his nurse practitioner for the wonderful work they do.”
Myer Katzman took the podium to a warm standing ovation and an embrace from his son, Elliot.
“I love my sons, Elliot and Scott, very much and I am very proud of them,” said Mr. Katzman. “They both married wonderful women, Donna and Robin, and they gave me four grandchildren.I have much nachas, which is Yiddish, and means I am very lucky.”
Mr. Katzman also thanked “the people at the Assisted Living for everything you do.”
It was clear that Mr. Katzman was overwhelemed by the tremendous honor extended to him and his son on this memorable morning.
Said Elliot’s friend and classmate, Mike Zullo, “This was a deserving tribute to two outstanding individuals. I feel fortunate to be here today on such a happy occasion. I’m proud of Elliot for all his accomplishments in life and the fact that he has never forgotten his Chelsea roots.”
Elliot Katzman embraces his father, Myer, as they receive a standing ovation from the many guests at the breakfast.
For more than 25 years, the Federal courts have been monitoring the quality and necessary cleanup of Boston Harbor as submitted by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority. The final report as ordered by the courts was submitted March 18, 2016.
Those of us who grew up in the Boston area and enjoyed the local beaches can still remember how the water quality continued to deteriorate in the 1960s and 1970s, culminating to the point where, in an infamous 1988 presidential advertisement, Boston Harbor was named as the most polluted harbor in the country.
Since then, much has changed for the better, but at a tremendous cost to local ratepayers. For some users, the water bills that for years had been a few hundred dollars a year have skyrocketed to thousands of dollars a year. Older cities like Revere had been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to repair outdated and inefficient water and sewer lines.
The bottom line has been that Boston Harbor has seen a resurgence in marine life, with herds of seals living in the Harbor and whale spottings off the coast of Revere last year.
Beaches like Constitution Beach in East Boston, once closed for many days during a summer heat wave due to dangerous water quality issues, are now open. Residents can now safely swim in the Charles River, but in the 1970s, if one fell into the water, a tetanus shot was required immediately.
Organizations like Save the Harbor/Save the Bay can now focus on the positive aspects that living on the coast can afford residents, rather than continually fighting for the basics like better water quality.
However, while much has been done for the water quality, much still remains to be done. There are still many brownfields along waterways like the Mystic River that leach chemicals into the water. The Wynn organization has spent tens of millions of dollars in cleaning up the contaminated planned casino site in Everett. In Boston, homeowners are now required to spend thousands of dollars in neighborhoods like the South End and Back Bay on water filtration systems to take the rain runoff from the roofs and put into the ground rather than run off the ground.
All these are positive examples of more than 30 years of hard work and billions of dollars to bring back the water quality to acceptable levels.
Today, one can be optimistic about the future of the Harbor, but also guarded. Massachusetts’ politicians have always shown the willingness to spend money on public projects, but not the resolve to fund the maintenance of these projects. Our deteriorating infrastructure and the transit system are two examples of billions having been spent in the construction phase, but then grossly underfunded for maintenance.
Living on the coast, given the fact that our population is growing, our water environment is safe for now. But if our current strong water status, gained from impressive public effort and extraordinary cost, are not constantly monitored going forward, then we will find ourselves back in the same place, a place of public danger and national ridicule, when songs were sung like “Love That Dirty Water” in the 1970s and being named as the most polluted harbor in America in 1988.