Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante Announces J.J. Healy Service Award Recipients

Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) announced Lenny and Dottie Linquata as the recipients of the fourth annual Jeremiah J. Healy Service Award and We Are All in This Together Gloucester as the recipients of fifth annual Jeremiah J. Healy Service Award.

Established by Ferrante in 2017, the award is given to an individual who best epitomizes the social gospel of Matthew: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

“The Rev. J.J. Healy Award was established to celebrate the compassion that we have for one another and the sacrifices that members of our community make for the well-being of some of the most vulnerable amongst us,” said Ferrante. “Thank you to Dottie and Lenny Linquata and Leah Lovasco, Patty Wall, Kristin Michel, Melanie Wall-Gabriele, and Cindy Rich of ‘We’re All in this Together’ for their efforts to protect and provide for members of our community that needed their strength, companionship, love, and gifts to make it through this pandemic.”

Lenny and Dottie Linquata have a long history of being front and center when residents of Cape Ann are in need. Their restaurant, the Gloucester House, is a regular host for the fundraisers of local charitable causes and organizations. Each holiday season, phone calls from Lenny are a regular occurrence as he marshals bell ringers to help with fundraising for the Salvation Army on Cape Ann and as he helps to make sure the money stays local to help Cape Ann residents in need. During the pandemic, the Linquatas stepped forward once again to continue helping those in need on Cape Ann. With the closure of non-essential businesses, Cape Ann’s veterans’ organizations found themselves in need to help keep their doors open and able to service local veterans. Lenny and the World War II Memorial Fund organized a raffle to benefit the local Amvets and VFW. Then once more, when the Grace Center found itself in need of a temporary space to house its day program for Cape Ann’s homelessness and underserved residents, the Linquatas stepped forward and graciously offered the Gloucester House to be the Grace Center’s winter home.

“Muhammad Ali said that service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth. There is nothing truer than that, especially for those of us that have the ability and advantages in life that allow us to help,” said Lenny and Dottie. “It doesn’t matter how much you have, how much you make, or how famous you are. If you have gone through life and did nothing but made life better for other people, you were a success.”

Leah Lovasco and Patty Wall founded the Facebook group “We Are All In This Together Gloucester” with the goal of being good neighbors and helping friends and strangers. The group grew rapidly – with currently over 6500 members – and the needs of the community became increasingly more apparent as the pandemic continued. Kristin Michel, Melanie Wall-Gabriele and Cindy Rich joined the team and, together with the community, over the last 18 months, they have supported local individuals and organizations with various needs in countless meaningful ways. We Are All In This Together provided a network of companionship and caring along with a vehicle for community members to engage and help their fellow citizens. The group has continued to evolve and Together Gloucester, Inc. was born in May 2021, as a charitable organization dedicated to connecting needy individuals with resources and advocates; to supporting such individuals financially and emotionally; and to promoting the collective good of the communities of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts.

“It has been the selfless acts of kindness I have witnessed the past eighteen months that has had the most impact on me,” said Leah Lovasco. “Our small community came together in such a profound way during a time where we were going through something none of us has ever experienced before.”

“The past 18 months were difficult for some and heart breaking for others,” said Patty Wall. “They also underscored what community really means. Helping neighbors, the elderly, those experiencing homelessness or just helping each other. Being kind and good humans.”

“We continue to ask the vital question ‘how can we help?’ and we hope to carry on the important work that we have committed ourselves to since the start of the pandemic,” said Kristin Michel. “The kindness shown has had a positive effect on others and has made me feel more appreciative and optimistic. There is nothing so rewarding as giving to others.”

About Jeremiah J. Healy

An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremiah James (J.J.) Healy was a highly regarded pastor at St. Ann’s Church in Gloucester, Massachusetts from the time he arrived at St. Ann’s Parish in 1871 until the time of his death in 1910. Healy was responsible for the construction of St. Ann’s Church, the St. Ann’s Rectory, and Convent. With the construction of these buildings, he educated and hired immigrant families, primarily those that “need not apply.”

During his time as permanent rector, Healy served the Cape Ann community by living the social gospel. At his own personal expense, he established a fund in the City of Gloucester for the support of the poor and needy, built and equipped the non-sectarian Gloucester Free Library, and made the single largest contribution to Addison Gilbert Hospital for the “free care of the poor.”

Father Ronald Garibaldi was the first recipient of the J.J. Healy Award in 2017 for his work and leading role in founding the Grace Center. Michael Arsenian, MD was the second recipient of the J.J. Healy Award in 2018 for the use of his considerable knowledge and skills for the care of Gloucester’s sick and expansion of the cardiac services at Addison Gilbert Hospital, a beneficiary of Rev. Healy’s generosity. Julie LaFontaine was the third recipient of the J.J. Healy Award in 2019 for her work at The Open Door helping to feed those in need on Cape Ann.