‘A bastion of warmth and security’
Couple gives back to BrooksbyBy Setarreh Massihzadegan
When John Murphy and Joan Pappalardo welcomed more than 1,000 community members into their Brooksby apartment home during last year’s holiday season, they intended to spread joy but also to give back to the community in a bigger way.
John and Joan invited those who live and work at Brooksby, Erickson Living’s community in Peabody, Mass., to tour their magnificent Christmas village inside her apartment home. They also encouraged visitors to donate to a vital philanthropic fund in the process. Earlier this year, the couple donated the $2,245 they collected from their open house to Brooksby’s benevolent care fund.
“That is a very generous donation, and we are so thrilled that they did all that work creating the village, opened their home to the residents and staff of Brooksby, and then gave voluntary donations to our residents in need,” says Brooksby Director of Philanthropy and Communications Beth McNelis. “What a pleasure to see them share holiday cheer in so many ways.”
Warmth and security
Erickson Living established the benevolent care fund at each community to provide the security and promise that no resident should have to move out due to financial hardship.
Brooksby is a not-for-profit community dedicated to supporting residents who experience an unforeseen change in financial situation. Should a resident’s finances change for reasons beyond their control, Brooksby’s Home for Life Commitment provides several options to protect their future. Ask to see the Residence and Care Agreement for complete details.
“I thought the benevolent care fund was a wonderful thing for residents to do for their fellow residents,” John says. “We want everybody to continue to enjoy this beautiful lifestyle. We were going to do what we could to raise some money to help them. If they came here and they fell on hard times, we want to help them.”
Of Brooksby, he adds: “This place is just a bastion of warmth and security.”
Providing enjoyment, fun
John and Joan’s holiday village is a longstanding tradition that has grown tremendously in recent years. The previous year’s display attracted hundreds of people and a collection of about $700, which John and Joan donated to Brooksby’s Theatre at the Pond group. The latest display included almost 70 lit pieces and a moving train, mounted in the middle of Joan’s dining room, before a mountain landscape and sparkling fabric that resembled a starlit night.
“I loved putting it up. I loved creating it,” John says.
The scene attracted visitors during 12 open houses and even caught the attention of Peabody’s mayor, Edward Bettencourt, Jr., who sent the couple a letter.
“I felt a great sense of pride and admiration that two such creative and imaginative people are living among us in Peabody,” Mayor Edward Bettencourt wrote.
John and Joan’s talent and altruism is well-known in the Brooksby community, where they have shared many years together since she moved in almost eight years ago. John had arrived almost a year before. The two host karaoke nights and serve as Brooksby ambassadors, meeting with people interested in moving to the community and answering their questions.
John sings with the Brooksby Gentlemen, Mishuwum Choral Society, and Brooksby’s Protestant Choir. He leads group trivia every other Saturday afternoon. And he works part-time as the new business development director for Liberty Packaging, a local company that makes innovative industrial packaging.
Joan has served for seven years on Brooksby’s resident advisory council, which acts as a liaison between those who live at Brooksby and its management. Joan was recently reelected, and as a former nurse, serves an integral role as the liaison to the medical services and resident life departments.
“We’re having fun; we’re very much alive, Joan and I,” John says.
Adds Joan: “Every night when we go to bed, we say how lucky we are.”