Leaders of Opioid War Honored at Lowell House Gala
LOWELL -- Lowell House Inc. recognized three local leaders in the battle against the opioid epidemic at their fifth annual Living in the Light Gala Thursday.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Winward and Jody White, president and CEO of Circle Health and Lowell General Hospital, were honored, and Trinity EMS President and co-founder John Chemaly received a lifetime achievement award.
Lowell House CEO Bill Garr said all three men have been an important part of the team in Lowell that is fighting the epidemic, and that all three have been leaders in bringing people and resources together.
“Lowell has great teams, and those three represent the best Lowell has to offer,” Garr said.
Lowell House, which battles the opioid epidemic by focusing on prevention, recovery and service across a lifetime for those battling addiction, is in its 48th year of existence. Later this year, on May 6, the organization will open the doors at its new facility at 101 Jackson St., where the Lowell House Center for Integrated Treatment and Recovery will be located.
The center will aim to support those in recovery not just through traditional means, but by promoting healthy lifestyle changes that will help them remain in recovery.
“People with addiction struggle throughout a lifetime to maintain a semblance of what we would consider an ‘average’ life -- a family, a home, a job, trusting relationships,” the agency said in the event’s program. “Given patience and the right supports, people in recovery can accomplish amazing things.”
Winward, who was introduced at the Gala by retired Lowell Police Superintendent Bill Taylor, has been active with a number of groups seeking to battle the epidemic, including the Middlesex District Attorney’s Opiate Task Force, the Lowell Mayor’s Opioid Task Force, and as a founding member of the Citywide Collaborative Opioid Outreach Program.
White, who was introduced by Kerrie D’Entremont, executive director of the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, has been an active member of the Lowell House Board of Advisors, and an advocate of the city and region’s efforts to use an integrated approach to battling the epidemic.
Chemaly, who was introduced by Lowell Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson, prompted TrinityEMS’ investment in software to help everyone in Greater Lowell closely track and respond to opioid overdoses, and in collecting and sharing data that has helped drive efforts to battle addiction.
The gala also included a prayer for recovery, the showing of the film “A Lifetime of Success,” and auctions to help keep the organization funded.