A remarkable cast of characters assembled at the Cronin Group’s headquarters for a double-barreled event on the Waterfront last Thursday evening.
It was remarkable because of the extremely positive roles they all play in recovery from drug abuse and addiction. The four leading players were Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Robert DeLeo, the recipient of the first Martin J. Walsh “Leadership in Recovery” Award; Walsh, himself in recovery and presenter of the award named for him; Andy Ward, director of the South Boston Collaborative, the recovery organization that founded this award; and Jon Cronin, president of the Cronin Group, who hosted this celebration and who is a devoted supporter of recovery efforts and programs. It was an all-star cast.
Cronin opened the program by reflecting back 20 years to the founding of the South Boston Collaborative, in response to the mid-90s wave of drug-related teen suicides. He spoke of Darlene Sheehan who literally sacrificed her health to get the original collaborative up and running. Walsh, before he presented the award to DeLeo, saluted Cronin for his continual support and praised Ward and his staff for their ongoing efforts to bring hope of recovery to South Boston.
Walsh then presented the recovery award to Speaker DeLeo and mentioned how DeLeo (who isn’t himself in recovery) fought constantly for funds to aid those who were in the grip of addiction. He emphasized that DeLeo did all of this quietly and without any thought of receiving credit for his efforts, saying of DeLeo, “There’s no better person to receive this award.”
DeLeo’s were remarks were inspiring. He said he was justifiably proud of the funding and legislation to fight addiction that he had taken part in passing. He also said, “If you or someone you know has a substance abuse problem, then you have me as a friend.”
DeLeo ended by stating a bleak fact: He and his office receive more calls to help kids with addiction than he receives to help get them into college. There is still much to be done.
We mentioned the award evening was a two-fold event. At the end of the program, Cronin stepped forward and presented the Collaborative’s Andy Ward with a $25,000 check from the Cronin Group. The guests then took part in a truly celebratory reception, with refreshments served from Remy’s below.
As we said: remarkable people enjoying a remarkable evening.