Latham dedicates new residences in honor of Jim Polito and Chip Gagnier
In an especially moving Home Dedication Ceremony for our two new accessible Adult Services residences, members of the Latham Centers community came together over Zoom last month to honor two gentlemen who were instrumental in making these Sandwich and Wareham homes a reality.
Honorees Roland “Chip” Gagnier and James Polito joined Latham for a virtual tour of the completed homes that we call “Symphony” and “Great Neck.” Chip Gagnier from Gagnier-Hicks Associates is an affordable housing expert specializing in projects for the special needs and senior populations. Jim Polito worked with Latham for many years as Senior Account Executive at the Asset Management Division of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
President and CEO Anne McManus welcomed Board members, staff, and Latham community members to the ceremony. We had hoped to celebrate in person, she said, but the pandemic got in the way. Still, we were fortunate to have our two honorees in attendance. Chip and Jim began this journey with Latham more than a decade ago, Anne shared. “These homes were ten years in the making! We had a home that became obsolete, but both Chip and Jim were visionary, working together, and they found a pathway forward for us. Both Chip and Jim helped us overcome every hurdle and every impediment. We’re just thrilled to have you both here.”
Latham Board member Keith Bradley also expressed his heartfelt gratitude. “I want to congratulate everyone involved. I was fortunate enough to be in on the beginning for the site selection, working with Anne to find the beautiful pieces of land – these are lovely locations. On behalf of the Board, I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who were involved, especially to Chip Gagnier and Jim Polito. The Board is grateful to all of you for your excellence in helping us to achieve this wonderful goal.”
Gina Sheehan, Director of Adult Services, said looking back and reflecting on the experience, “I am so incredibly grateful for the work you did for our program. We all worry about what’s going to happen to ourselves as we age and move into a different stage of life, and this has given our individuals an opportunity to live in this beautiful environment that is going to really meet their needs as they age… It was home from the second they walked in, and I am so grateful.”
Honoree Jim Polito said he was so happy to see the new homes and hear from the staff and residents. “I really want to thank Latham – for this and for being who you are,” he said. Among the people in the HUD programs he worked with over the years, “Latham Centers always stood out to me, and it was always a pleasure. I worked with Res Rehab in the ‘90s, when it was first developed, and you were always a breath of fresh air to me.” He credited Chip for his vision. “Chip is really in a class by himself, and he always has been… I’m deeply moved by this honor.”
Honoree Chip Gagnier said it was heartwarming to see the residents enjoying these homes. “Having Latham Centers behind this is particularly meaningful. Latham – and especially the people you serve so beautifully, so completely, so tirelessly, really sets the standard for residential service providers,” Chip said. “I think when HUD was envisioning these programs and how they would be utilized, they were thinking about organizations like Latham. You folks are really best equipped to utilize the federal resources effectively, and you continue to excel in that area.” Chip also added that this ceremony was enhanced because Jim was being remembered along with him. “I’ve known Jim for a long time. He is someone who was a careful steward of HUD’s programs and its policies throughout his career, and I know that none of my work in the Boston office could have been achieved without Jim’s support and encouragement.”
Latham Centers will forever be thankful to Chip and Jim for their involvement in our lives, and their significant contribution to Latham and the individuals we serve. Please don’t miss this 3-minute video slideshow highlighting the home-construction journey and thanking our honorees: