Thank you note

Paulette Vantrease, a Rockport resident and an ER nurse at Beverly Hospital, speaks to the crowd at the Harvest Music Festival on Sept. 11.

Harvest Music Festival

The Gloucester Harvest Music Festival, a fundraiser for the Addison Gilbert Hospital Citizens Fund, is in its seventh year and just completed its sixth successful event thanks to producer Christopher Silva. With the continued support of local businesses and the city of Gloucester, along with, literally, a handful of volunteers and two months time, we managed to give music lovers a wonderful day of entertainment under sunny skies. But this time we accomplished more, much more.

On Sept. 11, 840 people walked onto the I-4, C-2 parcel off Rogers Street for a day-long free concert and to honor the victims and the heroes of the deadly attack on America 20 years ago. They also came to pay homage to our local heroes who worked tirelessly and cared for us during another deadly attack that claimed the lives of millions around the world and that still holds us hostage today.

I am calling it a medicinal — as in “chicken soup for the soul” — kind of day as local community members took the mic in between music sets to address those on the field with meaningful stories and speeches honoring all of our local heroes. As City Councilor and former police Chief John McCarthy spoke with Lt. Mike Gossom at his side, a contingency of uniformed police officers lined the back of the lot. McCarthy reminded us of how our local police protect and serve professionally and with compassion every day.

Retired Gloucester Fire Deputy Chief Steve Aiello, who served as MC for the event, spoke on behalf of the Gloucester Fire Department, reminding us that our firefighters are there for us 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Joining them on stage were Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, and Adam Curcuru, district director of Cape Ann Veteran Services. Brenda Lahey, whose husband survived the attack on the World Trade Center towers, and Cape Ann Veteran Services provided a heartfelt and meaningful display of memorabilia from 9/11 which included all the names of all the passengers on the planes that fateful day.

We also heard from state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, and state Rep. Ann Margaret Ferrante who summed it up best when she said that our hospital is a vital part of our community and needs to stay open, each reminding us of the dedication of all first responders and the need to have a local hospital here on Cape Ann. Tony Goddess, music director for Gloucester400, gave us an update on how we will celebrate in 2023.

Patty Wall, Kristin Michel and Leah Lovasco from We are All In this Together Gloucester, an organization we have all come to depend on for community news and events, were a welcomed presence this year.

Scott Trenti, CEO of Senior Care, reminded us that when we respond to someone in need in real time and help them, we are also first responders.

Paulette Vantrease, a registered nurse in the Beverly Hospital emergency room, spoke about what it was like to help COVID-19 patients, young and old, die with dignity and how she herself contracted COVID-19 and self-treated at home. She encouraged people to get the vaccine.

Marianne Smith, president of Cape Ann Savings Bank, spoke of her 25-year-old autistic son and four other autistic young menwho, when the pandemic hit, had their world turned upside down when their group home went into lock down. They celebrated every major holiday without their natural families. The parents had not seen their sons in months.

We are sending out heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all our sponsors, vendors, speakers, exhausted volunteers, the Gloucester Sea Cadets, and everyone who donated at the gate or helped in any way.

Lee Swekla, president,

Addison Gilbert Hospital Citizens Fund.

Trending Video

Recommended for you