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Survivor & Professional Speaker on Heart Health Advocacy

I’m so proud of our Miss Massachusetts 2009, Amanda Kelly, as she prepares to leave for the Miss America pageant.  Her send-off was a wonderful party of friends, family, and fans.  Good luck, Amanda!



Military Send-off for Fall River Unit

I was grateful to be a part of supporting our troops who are leaving from Massachusetts to serve in Afghanistan.  This past weekend held a huge sendoff at TD BankNorth Garden in Boston where Governor Patrick wished our 600+ soldiers farewell.  The event was followed this week by our own Fall River soldiers saying good-bye for 12 months.  My thoughts are prayers are with all of our heroes…we are all so proud of you.  Lou, Brian, and Nick, we will be waiting for your safe return.

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In December 2008 I finished a Thanatology Certificate at Bristol Community College.  I was fortunate to have been awarded a free year of tuition to the school for having captured the Miss Massachusetts title in 2006-2007.  BCC does segments featuring alumni making a difference in the community, and they asked if I would be willing to be intervied at my place of work, St. Vincent’s Home. 


Check it out: Click In 

(Scroll to about 20:45 to see my piece!)


The weather was rainy, but the Christmas spirit was bright! 

I had a great time walking in the parade with Spencer Borden Elementary School, and it was a fun and unexpected surprise to be face-to-face with the Boston Celtics’ Championship trophy! Fall River put on an amazing parade!!
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It was wonderful to visit the Katie Brown Educational Program’s new space on Purchase Street in Fall River, MA.  KBEP  is dedicated to the recognition and prevention of relationship violence through innovative, interactive educational initiatives. KBEP promotes respectful relationships and provides alternatives to violent behaviors.


Photo by David Weed


To learn more about the Katie Brown Educational Program:  Click In



It was wonderful to meet the Rotary Club of Wellesley, MA during their weekly Monday night meeting.  I met some wonderful personalities and had a lot of laughs!  It was a pleasure to speak to the Club about my story with heart disease and introduce them to the work of Heartbeat International.  Thank you so much for having me as your guest!



Fall River’s Mayor-Elect, Will Flanagan, has asked me to be part of his transition team as he prepares to take office on January 4, 2010.  I will sit as a proud member of the Community Development Team with many other wonderful community leaders.  A press conference was held to today to announce the team, and I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve the city.


It was wonderful to see my old friend, Frank Devlyn, Past President of Rotary International, at this event.  Traveling from his home in Mexico, Frank was the honored keynote speaker at this prestigious event, and we were able to recall our great memories working together for Heartbeat International.

Many local Rotary Clubs’ accomplishments were honored on this evening, and I had the pleasure of singing the National Anthem at the event held at Venus de Milo in Swansea, MA.


It was wonderful to get the official approval from the Fall River School Committee to form a subcommittee devoted to making sure all of our city’s schools are protected with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).  I have taken the role as chairperson of our committee, additional members (including my fiance and partner in heart health advocacy, Josh) have been approved, and we will begin an extensive process to obtain these needed devices.  Anyone interested in being part of this work, please let me know!


I am helping to organize a fundraiser to get an AED at Fall River’s Silvia Elementary School.  A calendar will be distributed to the 600+ students at the school which will have a different raffle prize for every day of December.  We would like to give away a local or chain business gift certficate for each of these prizes…please let me know if you would like to take part!


The Miss Fall River/Miss Bristol County/Miss Quequechan 2010 pageant was wonderful!  15 amazing young ladies competed for these titles, and it was no easy decision!  Our new title-holders who will compete at the Miss Massachusetts 2010 Pageant (MAO) are:


MISS FALL RIVER 2010: Brett Bimmler

MISS BRISTOL COUNTY 2010: Taylor Kinzler

MISS QUEQUECHAN 2010: Corin Harmon


For more information, please visit: www.missfallriver.org


Congratulations, ladies!  You are all wonderful!



Fall River Youth Soccer Banquet

I had a fantastic night celebrating with the two soccer teams I coached this fall soccer season!  It was an honor to sing the national anthem to the 1,500 participants in the night’s event.  Fall River Youth Soccer did an amazing job organizing this event, and I look forward to it in the years to come.  What a great league!

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Children in Balance has kicked off its educational health events again!  Silvia School had a great evening of fun dance, healthy cooking, and learning about great local health resources (including a yummy farmer’s market!).  The students and their families had an awesome time, and it will be wonerful to watch this program continue to have events at the remaining elementary schools!


I was delighted to meet another amazing Rotary Group and share my personal story, as well as information about the other non-profit organizations with whom I work.  The Sharon Rotary Club was extremely welcome and generous, and I thank them for having me at their meeting!



I was asked to return again to this year’s Fall River Police Ball to sing the national anthem and enjoy a wonderful evening honoring our city’s finest.  I was especially proud of my friend, John Lapointe, who earned the title of Police Officer of the Year.



Camp Meridian!

Another awesome year with Camp Meridian!  Camp Meridian is a free overnight camp for boys and girls ages 8-12 with heart disease.  It takes place at Camp Merrowvista in New Hampshire, and it is definitely the greatest weekend you could imagine! 


Many of the bunk counselors, like myself, have heart conditions as well and can relate to the struggles that these kids experience.  Meeting the campers, however, you would probably never know about the challenges many of them have encountered.  They are some of the most amazing children I have ever met in my life!  I watched them climb rock walls, build rafts, hike, dance, you name it!  Most importantly, I witnessed them build amazing relationships with one another…can’t wait till next year!


For more information on Camp Meridian: Click In

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I was selected to be a judge to choose the King and Queen for Somerset’s Musictown Festival.  Contestants consisted of outstanding, motivated high school students from Somerset High School who are not only dedicated to music, but were also well-rounded, intelligent, and committed to great community work.  The Musictown Festival is a huge, amazing event dedicated to music that includes a parade and numerous concerts.


Winners were announced last night at the Musictown Festival Ball… Congratulations to the new king and queen, Zachary St. Ours and Carley Przystac!!


I was awarded St. Vincent’s Home’s highest honor, the Mission Award.  It can only be received once in a lifetime, and it is given to employees who go above and beyond our agency’s mission to give children and families in need what they need most.  It is a peer nominated award, and it meant so much to me to hear a fellow teacher speak about the ways she has seen me go above and beyond for our kids and staff at St. Vincent’s.  My family was able to share the night with me, and I am so thank ful to have even been considered for this honor.



What’s Your Massachusetts? A Forum for Young Adults

How do we make this the place we where you want to LIVE, WORK, & PLAY?


I was honored to be asked to sit on a 5 member panel representing young professionals in Massachusetts who call this state home and plan to stay rooted here.  The state’s Labor and Workforce Development Secretary, Suzanne Bump, lead the panel at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in a similar discussion that is being held across the state.  Ideas were shared from the panelists and the audience members about issues our state is having with keeping our young adults here.  Various struggles and successes were shared by all, and it was an enlightening discussion that helped state and local officials gain a new perspective on the matter.


Check out an article on the event: Click In


I was invited to sing the national anthem at the annual We Love Children Sunday Brunch, an amazing fundraiser and function.  We Love Children helps needy parents in the Greater Fall River, MA  area, supporting those whose children are being treated for serious and/or life-threatening medical conditions.   Our Fall River Chief of Police, John M. Souza, was honored at the event for the champion he is of our children and our community.