In photo of the Deadys' RV on the day they delivered it to the Jardins are, left to right, Kelli Jardin, David Jardin, Chris Deady and Sue Deady. Photo courtesy Chris Deady
By Judy Bass
The recreational vehicle owned by Chris Deady and his wife, Sue, has taken them and their three boys camping to scenic locales all over the Northeast. But their 2018 thirty-four-foot Coachman Travel Trailer has just made its most important journey of all – to the home of a Stoughton firefighter/paramedic who might need it to isolate himself from his family just in case he is exposed to the coronavirus.
Chris, who is the lead teacher in the Graphic Communications program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, said that his wife found a humanitarian organization on Facebook called RVs 4 MDs. That group helps owners of RVs like the Deadys connect with first responders – usually medical personnel – who temporarily need a no-cost option for a safe, comfortable place to isolate themselves from their family members if they are infected with COVID-19, have been exposed to it, or are simply concerned about being near their spouses and children during this global health emergency.
“As this pandemic was unfolding,” Chris explained, “most of us felt helpless, myself included. There was little for us to do besides adhere to the guidelines for social distancing and stay at home. It never occurred to me that the camper in my driveway could help someone until my wife got a text from her brother in North Carolina. He saw the RVs 4 MDs on the local news and passed the information along.”
Chris continued, “My wife loved the idea and signed us up through Facebook. We were contacted by a Stoughton firefighter/paramedic who was looking for an RV so that he could be close to his family without putting them at risk. He has a wonderful family and we were very proud to be able to help in some small way. We wanted to support the people on the front lines of this pandemic. We were excited about getting the opportunity to help someone, but once we met this firefighter’s family, it became so much more meaningful.”
Kelli Jardin, the wife of firefighter/paramedic David C. Jardin of the Stoughton Fire Department, was put in contact with the Deadys through RVs 4 MDs. David said that having the RV belonging to the Deadys at his disposal, with no strings attached, constitutes “an emergency back-up plan” that gives him “peace of mind.”
“It's wonderful to see the Deady family providing the perfect gift of peace of mind and physical distance to the Jardin family during this very stressful time,” said Blue Hills Regional Superintendent Jill Rossetti. “By sharing their RV, the Deadys have effectively modeled unconditional generosity, empathy and compassion for all of us which brings a smile of hope to my face.”
David pointed out that he has not had any unprotected exposures to COVID-19 and recently tested negative for antibodies. Even still, as a precaution, he has been distancing himself from his family. He also mentioned that he and his colleagues in the Stoughton Fire Department are taking suitable measures to keep themselves safe and protected, such as using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in all patient interactions within the course of carrying out their duties.
Even so, David knows that if it does become necessary for him to isolate from his wife, Kelli, and their two young daughters, he can now do so mere steps away from his home. He would be in spacious, amenity-laden accommodations. The Deadys’ RV boasts a full kitchen, an outside kitchen, a master bedroom with cable TV, air conditioning and heat, plus a full bath and shower.
David is immensely grateful to Chris and Sue Deady for their generosity. “I can’t thank them enough for giving me the peace of mind that I can be close to my family if I need to isolate myself,” he said. “It was a very humbling experience that someone would go to that level to help me and my family.”
By Judy Bass
When Vincent Burton was a student at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton years ago, everyone could see that he was remarkable. Quiet and dignified, he excelled at his studies and as a football player, but this gentlemanly young man’s uniqueness did not end there.
He had obvious leadership potential, as well as an abundance of character and maturity that his teachers and peers respected. At 6’ 4” and 250 pounds, he was uncommonly impressive in stature and demeanor.
“I remember Vince as a student and I knew he was going to be a successful young man after high school,” said Blue Hills Regional Superintendent Jill Rossetti. “He comes from a wonderful family and he is a role model and inspiration.”
Burton was going places fast – the only question was where he would be headed and what career he would choose.
On September 20, 2019, he officially became a police officer in Randolph, which is his hometown and the community where his parents, Vincent and Marylou, still live. It was the culmination of his education at Blue Hills and at Stonehill College in Easton.
Burton, now 25, concentrated in engineering during high school, but he was unsure of his path forward. “High school is a tough time to have that figured out,” he said recently. After graduating from Blue Hills in 2013, Burton kept his options open and decided to attend college, get a solid education and play football.
Stonehill was the college that “felt like home” to him. It was also where Burton’s prowess on the gridiron shone brightly, just like it had years earlier at Blue Hills. He played on the varsity high school football team from sophomore to senior year, a span filled with many impressive milestones.
Burton, a fullback, was Blue Hills’ all-time leading rusher, had the most points and rushing yards in a season, scored the most points of all time for the school, was third all-time in state high school sports history in points scored, and was in the state’s top ten in all-time yards.
There were also some very special moments that can’t be gauged by stats alone. The Blue Hills Warriors football team won the Mayflower League Large Division Championship in Burton’s sophomore year, and hurtled on to a Division 4 Super Bowl slot versus Shawsheen Tech. Blue Hills bowed to their opponents, 20-6.
The contest gave them an ideal opportunity to show their mettle as individuals and as a squad. There was absolutely no trash talking in the aftermath of that painful loss, no recriminations, no self-pity. Instead, Burton and his fellow Warriors vowed to get right back in the hunt for a coveted Super Bowl trophy the very next season, whatever it took.
Their determination and unyielding resolve paid off. Blue Hills won the MIAA Division 4A Super Bowl against Boston Cathedral by a score of 16-14.
It was an emblematic, unforgettable victory for the school, the team, and for Burton.
His philosophy now is exactly the same as it was back then: “Most successful people don’t let past negative experiences hold them down or hold them back.”
In fact, Burton credits sports with getting him ready to contend with life in the real world beyond academia and “handle what’s on your plate.” In college, he remembers having a packed schedule of classes as a criminology major, going to football practices and team meetings and doing piles of homework. All that relates to his duties as a police officer who must adroitly multi-task all the time and be prepared “for anything that happens.”
Burton’s interest in civic service – and the road to his current position - began at Blue Hills and Stonehill. Through Blue Hills’ Cooperative Education program, Burton did a stint at Randolph Town Hall working in the Town Manager’s office. There he happened to meet Randolph Police Chief William Pace, who is also a Blue Hills alumnus. He offered Burton an internship, which he did while he was in college.
As much as Burton loves being a police officer, he admits it’s definitely not easy. “It’s very difficult,” he remarked. “It’s all about being prepared and stopping things from happening that don’t need to. Not everyone understands the ins and outs.”
For example, Burton and his colleagues have to deal with their own and others’ emotions that, under duress, can sometimes run extremely high, he said. There’s the unpredictability of the job, too. “You never know what you’re going to get” – or how much danger it might entail.
For Burton, who works the 4 to 12 shift, it could be handling anything from a routine shoplifting incident to a domestic violence call, which he considers the most potentially hazardous type of assignment. His day finally ends at 11:50, when he has to decompress mentally and “flip the switch and go forward” as a civilian until his next shift begins.
Burton expressed deep gratitude to both his parents for their unqualified devotion every step of the way. His mother, who has long been involved in the community and with the Blue Hills Regional Booster Club, a group of parents who volunteer to raise money for student awards and activities, has been “very supportive.” Of his dad, Burton said, “He has always been there for me and showed me what it is to be a man.”
Burton has his own fatherly responsibilities as the parent of a 19-month-old son and a newborn. Despite everything he is presently tasked with, he finds time to contemplate his future.
He said he might want to someday be a higher-ranking officer. Whatever his goal is, it’s a pretty sure bet that he’ll achieve it with immense distinction.
In photo, BHR Electronics instructor Jill Bearse with face shields she produced. (Photo courtesy Jill Bearse)
By Judy Bass
CANTON - On March 21, Blue Hills Regional Technical School donated a significant quantity of personal protection equipment (PPE) and other vital supplies that were not being used while the school is not in session. Those items went to local hospitals and first responders who are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some Blue Hills Regional employees are taking that same spirit of generosity and desire to help even further.
Guidance Counselor Sarah Titus, Lead Electronics Instructor Manuel Cerqueira and Electronics Instructor Jill Bearse each volunteered to work from their homes on their own time in conjunction with a grassroots, Canton-based group called Team Tara to produce as many face masks and face shields as possible for medical personnel, at-risk members of the public and institutions that need them as COVID-19 continues to severely impact Massachusetts.
Titus, Cerqueira and Bearse are working diligently on this outside of the time they spend supporting Blue Hills Regional students remotely.
“Our Blue Hills Warrior spirit of giving back shines brightly during Covid-19 as our staff volunteers their time to provide desperately needed PPE,” said Blue Hills Regional Superintendent Jill Rossetti. “They are helping to properly protect essential workers. This effort will provide some peace of mind to the front-line workers and help protect, save lives and instill hope. I am so proud to work with these thoughtful, generous, talented and dedicated colleagues.”
The labor-intensive effort got underway when a nurse connected with Team Tara who lives in Titus’s neighborhood approached her to sew face masks. Titus, whose mother, a seamstress, taught her how to sew when she was a child, quickly agreed, dusting off her long-unused sewing machine and began industriously making masks as rapidly as she could.
Cerqueira and Bearse, whose initial contact with Team Tara was facilitated by Superintendent Rossetti, readily jumped onboard to produce face shields with 3D printers. Those face shields will be going to hospitals and facilities from Brockton to Boston. Bearse said, “I saw on the news that Mass. General Hospital was looking for people to make 3D pieces for ventilators. That got me thinking that maybe we could help out.”
The whole endeavor is being coordinated by Team Tara. According to the organization’s web site, www.teamtarahopes.org, “In 2013, Tara Shuman, in treatment for HER2+ breast cancer, walked in her first Jimmy Fund Walk with her five-year-old son. The 2013 Walk inspired Tara so much that she decided to team up with her dear friend, Amy Killeen, and create a Jimmy Fund Walk team. Amy and Tara have thoroughly enjoyed co-captaining Team Tara since 2014. They and their mighty team are relentless in the fight against cancer.”
They are equally relentless in their battle against COVID-19. Killeen said, “We are currently making supplies for hospital staff, homeless shelters, assisted living / dementia unit staff, physical therapists, corrections officers, transportation / truck drivers, home health aides, hospice nurses and centers, and more.”
Titus is one of many people working on the face mask part of this project for Team Tara. She said others are donating and cutting fabric, contributing buttons and elastic, and sewing like she is. Blue Hills Regional School Nurse Joan Gainey, along with teachers Janice LaVoie and Trish Murphy, are also pitching in and sewing up a storm.
Auto Collision and Repair Lead Teacher Dwight Seaman and his wife gave shop towels to use for the face masks instead of fabric. Titus said, “The blue shop towels that Dwight and Tina donated with their own money filter two to three times more particles than fabric, greatly improving the effectiveness of fabric masks. People can insert a disposable single-use shop towel into a reusable fabric mask and get the extra protection.”
As of April 8, Titus estimates she has produced over 100 face masks. She said she can usually complete five or six an hour.
She has no definite goal in mind for the final number of face masks she plans to sew. “As long as I have supplies, I’ll just keep sewing until they say to stop. Doing the little bit I can is keeping me busy instead of feeling helpless.”
As for the face shields being made by Cerqueira and Bearse, each is comprised of a bracket that is made on the 3D printer and fits around the wearer’s head, plus elastic and an office-supply clear sheet (inserted horizontally, in landscape orientation). “Team Tara might affix foam tape to the forehead area for comfort during long-time wear,” added Cerqueira.
"Jill has made close to 30 [after just a few days]. Now that my machine is up and running, I’m closing in with 18. We plan on producing 12-20 per day, plus production from several others involved [there are, by Cerqueira’s count, nearly ten 3D-printer participants joining forces for this in Canton, Norwood, Dedham, Thayer Academy in Braintree and in other towns].
The production of even one face shield is painstaking. Each takes about an hour and a half on the machine to complete, and there can be occasional glitches in the manufacturing process that have to be smoothed out before proceeding.
Just getting everything off the ground successfully presented a challenge. As Cerqueira explained, “We had to research pros and cons of available designs and test them out on the printer for quality control. We made some design changes and later found an existing design ‘that checks all the boxes.’ We chose a style that required fewer steps and much less finishing time to get it to the user faster.”
“Early on, print quality vs. speed/time adjustments were made in each file-version run,” he noted. “Also, adhesion to the machine's ‘bed’ surface can be a challenge. After each run we would test/vet the quality of the print. Print quality vs. speed/time are always trade-offs when 3D printing, so the selected design was chosen in part because it was more forgiving at high speed.”
Cerqueira continued, “We probably reviewed a dozen or so designs. We modified one and added features to allow for standard elastics instead of straps. More designs are shared each day and after we vetted them, the group selected a similar elastic band with a slot style to replace the previous three-hole punched variety that was significantly more labor/time intensive.”
Commercially-available face shields can be heavy-duty for reuse or lightweight single-use. The ones Bearse and Cerqueira are making are in between, he pointed out, and can be disinfected with hydrogen peroxide mist and reused.
“The group we are in has gotten some donations to help with the cost of making these,” said Bearse. “I purchased some transparency material for them on eBay. I'm not concerned about being reimbursed - I just figured that I should buy it before it’s unavailable.”
It’s a pretty sure guess that everyone who’s involved in this humanitarian initiative would affirm Manny Cerqueira’s words – “It feels good to be able to do something to help.”
“I'm grateful that I work at a school that is so open to help the community by letting us use our equipment to contribute to this great cause,” Bearse said. “Our administration is ‘top-notch!’”
“Our favorite thing about the work we do is the team aspect of it,” emphasized Amy Killeen of Team Tara. “Meeting such generous, hardworking people as Manny, Jill, and Sarah and collaborating on this important project with them has been incredible. We're not just a Jimmy Fund Walk team, we're a community and coming together at this difficult time has been a gift.”