Moulton Announces First Annual Peter J. Gomes Service Award Winner, Andrew DeFranzaFollowing the ceremony, Moulton hosts Day of Service in Lynn in honor of the 15th anniversary of September 11th
Salem, MA - On the 15th anniversary of September 11th and what is today a National Day of Service and Remembrance, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) named Andrew DeFranza the winner of his first annual Peter J. Gomes Service Award during a ceremony at English High School in Lynn. Moulton established The Peter J. Gomes Service Award this August to be given annually to a Sixth District resident who best epitomizes the qualities of integrity, compassion, and commitment to community, all traits foundational to Gomes’ teachings and legacy of service.
"Andrew has convened an incredible organization in Harborlight Community Partners. Over the past nine-years, the organization has grown to support nearly 500 units of affordable housing in the North Shore. But it was the description submitted by his nominator, that really set Andrew apart,” Moulton said during his remarks at the ceremony. “This focus on community and affordable housing is not merely to put a roof over the heads of those in need, but it also an effort to ensure that many public servants -- teachers, law enforcement officers, and firefighters -- can afford to live in the town in which they work and have grown up. That is a mission that Peter Gomes would have full-heartedly supported, and one worthy of recognition today.”
DeFranza is executive director of Harborlight Community Partners, a low-income housing provider. Moulton launched the Peter J. Gomes Service Award this summer, named for his mentor and friend who he says, “influenced my own decision to serve in the Marines, and later as a Member of Congress.” Moulton’s office received more than 30 nominations and a panel of judges from the community narrowed down the competition to six finalists: Lou Cimaglia (Wilmington), Andrew Defranza (Beverly), Kristi Hale (North Andover), Kit Jenkins (Lynn), Rev. Art McDonald (Essex, Lynn) and Maggie and Joe Rosa (Gloucester). All six were recognized for their extraordinary contributions to the community and commitment to service on a daily basis.
Following the award ceremony, Moulton was joined by nearly 70 members of the community, including local AmeriCorps and City Year members, for a day of service. Volunteers served with Raw Artworks, The Food Project, The Backpack Program, and Tech Skills USA, with a variety of tasks from assembling care packages for first responders with Tech Skills USA to building and maintaining gardens for The Food Project.
“It was encouraging and it was meaningful to hear the stories of so many people who serve our community every single day, not because there’s some big thing on TV, not just in the wake of an unexpected tragedy, but because it’s just the right thing to do. It’s taking care of our community, it’s taking care of our neighbors, and it’s something that we all ought to try to do more of every single day," Moulton said.