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Jack Leary Receives Joe Walsh Award
By Rick Winterson
 

                              

               Some supporters of the South                  Rep. Marty Walsh and Maura Doyle

               Boston Collaborative Center                     with Andy Ward, the Director of

               gather for the "time" at the                      the Collaborative Center.

               Ironworkers Hall.

                                  

               Jack Leary (2nd from r.) the 2006             Scott Lombard, a previous Joe Walsh

               Joe Walsh Award recipient, with                Award recipient, keynotes the

               Andy Ward, Joe Nee, Peter Walsh,             Collaborative's Award Evening.

               and Michael Kineavy.

     Last Thursday evening, May 25, the South Boston Collaborative Center held its 2006 Spring Fundraiser and Joe Walsh Award Night at the Ironworkers Hall.  The Joe Walsh Award commemorates the extraordinary devotion Walsh demonstrated to individuals from all over Boston, who had become entrapped in the cycle of alcohol or drug abuseThis year’s nominee was Jack Leary, Assistant Chief Probation Officer at the Courthouse and himself a tireless worker on behalf of addicted people.

     The Collaborative Center was formed in 1997, in response to the tragic wave of teenaged overdoses and suicides.  Its mission is easy to state but difficult to carry out:  to provide substance abuse counseling, education, outreach, and referral services to the families of South Boston.  Even though the Center runs on the proverbial “shoestring”, it needs funding to continue its programs and help families at risk.

     Andy Ward, the Collaborative’s Program Director, welcomed the guests, and mentioned that this is the Collaborative’s ninth year of operation.  He asked that the Board stand and be recognized.

     Michael Kineavy served as the Master of Ceremonies.  He first introduced Moss Lynch, who had written an original poem for the event.  Lynch’s poem is entitled “A Healing Hand”.  One of its lines states, “We must stick by those who need our help the most.”

     Scott Lombard, who received the Joe Walsh Award in 2004, paid tribute to this year’s recipient, Jack Leary.  Lombard said, “No one else deserves this award more.”  He also mentioned the questions that Leary always asked his clients with drug issues, “Are you tired?  Have you had enough?”  And eventually, a large number of Leary’s clients responded and began the journey into recovery.

     The Joe Walsh Award was then presented to Jack Leary.  Participating in the ceremony were Michael Kineavy, Joe “Dodo” Nee, and Peter Walsh, representing the Walsh family.  Kineavy paid tribute to the forward-thinking team of Judge Ziemian, BPD Captain Russell, and Leary.  “Someone out there has their child back tonight, because of the love Jack Leary gives to this community.”

     In his own well-spoken remarks, Leary praised the volunteers and professionals of South Boston, starting with the work Joe Walsh did.  He went on to point out that South Boston, alone among all the nation’s towns and cities, has an incredible concentration of recovery programs, AA activities, halfway houses, and so on.  He concluded by saying, “No other place says, ‘We have a problem!’ and does so much to resolve it.  This makes South Boston a special place to be.”

     The evening closed with a silent auction.  The warmth and fellowship were so evident that it was difficult to say goodbye for many of the guests.  The evening was also a great financial success.  In addition to the money raised at the event, Collaborative Center sponsors donated upwards of $30,000. 

     Leading the way were Jon Cronin, the local developer, Burke Distributors, William Coyne, the Mass. Convention Center Authority, Mt. Washington Bank, and MCM Properties.



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