Meet ‘Commonwealth Heroine’ Roberta Lynch


The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) is planning to celebrate the 19th annual Commonwealth Heroines on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at the Venezia Hotel, 20 Ericsson Street in Dorchester.

According to MCSW, Commonwealth Heroines are women who have been chosen by their legislators for their extraordinary acts of service, making a big difference in their communities but not necessarily making the news. They perform unheralded acts daily that make our homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live. Commonwealth Heroines use their time, talent, spirit, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others in their community. They are mentors, volunteers, and innovators who strive to protect and represent the interests of seniors, victims of violence, children, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations. They are the glue that keeps a community together.

Opening remarks at the June 22 event will be made by MCSW Chairwoman Denella Clark, followed by a special recognition of 121 honorees, including Franklin’s Roberta Lynch.

Lynch, who has served as Senior Center Director in Medfield, was nominated by the State Representative there, Denise C. Garlick. Franklin State Rep Jeff Roy had made a separate nomination of a life-long resident, well known for her tireless efforts in support of local charities and other community activities. However, noted Roy, “she is a very humble person and ended up declining to accept the award.”

Lynch, a native of Bedford, MA, attended the Peter Bent Brigham nursing program. Later in her career she moved into elder car roles, becoming director in Medfield in 2001.

“Roberta is a force to be reckoned with,” noted Norfolk State Rep Shawn Dooley, who has often worked with Lynch. He said she has built the Medfield Senior Center into one of the premier centers in the region. “At the beginning of the pandemic, she went above and beyond for those most at risk and I truly believe her and her staff’s Herculean efforts saved lives,” said Dooley.

Lynch said, above all, she simply loves her job. But she did say she is especially proud of two of her initiatives. For example, in 2011, she wrote a grant with the Metro West Health Foundation to set up and Adult Respite Care program

“It's two days a week; we help people with early dementia and we are there to care for them so their caregivers can get a break,” she explained. She said she was inspired to create the program because he had seen how her own father struggled to care for her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.

“People like my father struggle, they do not want to let go of the caregiver role, but having the care available at the senior center makes them feel more comfortable,” she explained.

She said the program has been ongoing in Medfield since 2012 and is self-sustaining, running on nominal fees charged to users.

She wrote another grant in 2017 to address social isolation facing seniors on the weekends, especially when there's a three-day holiday. Except for part of the pandemic period, that’s been ongoing since 2018 and includes Saturday programs to engage seniors.

And, much as she loves her work, Lynch said she is finally planning to retire in December.

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