Every year, for the past five years, supporters of the Charlestown Recovery House have recognized the resource it provides to the community with a .
This year, for the first time, organizers of the annual event have decided to give a community service award away -- and they've dedicated in the name of the late Peter Looney. It seemed fitting, they decided, to gift the inaugural prize to Judy Evers -- a longtime local activist who, like Looney did, has had a hand in dozens of community initiatives over the years.
Evers will be recognized during the Recovery House fundraiser on Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. at the . (You can get more info on the fundraiser and tickets .)
As far as Jim Travers, president of the Recovery House, is concerned, Evers and Looney were a formidable community service duo. The spirit of their work, he said, was the essence of what created the Charlestown Recovery House in the first place.
For the better part of a decade, Father Ron Coyne, along with Tommy Howard, Kevin Smith, Paul O'Donnell and Travers, worked to bring the 25-bed halfway house to Charlestown. They wanted to address the neighborhood's growing challenges with alcohol and substance abuse and create a local center for that work to happen, but the idea of opening a halfway house in Charlestown didn't appeal to everyone.
Evers, however, was an early supporter. According to Travers, she was always thinking of how to get the community behind the Recovery House. When a site for a new police station was being discussed, Evers convinced the mayor that locating the police station next to the halfway house was a great idea. With a new police station next to the Recovery House, the community finally reached a consensus that the house could be built.
Decades of work
Twenty-five years ago, Evers, along with Looney, Dennis McLaughlin, Bobby Wallace and Father Coyne, organized Boston Against Drugs in Charlestown. That group not only helped convince people in the neighborhood that Charlestown needed its own halfway house, but it also laid the groundwork for Charlestown Against Drugs, which continues to work on substance abuse in the neighborhood today.
Together, Evers and Looney brought an anti-drug message into the and the and encouraged the entire neighborhood to support the annual .
And today, Evers continues her efforts to help people in the community. When there is a difficult community issue to be solved you can still hear people say, just like Looney used to say, “did you call Judy?”