My speech at Interim House fundraiser May 2008

My name is Joyce Linehan, and I am the President of the Board of Directors of Interim House, as well as the oldest child of Yvonne Linehan, in whose honor we gather here , on what would have been her 75th birthday, to raise money for Interim House, which she founded in 1972, and ran until her death in 1999.  On behalf of my brother David and sister Gail – as well as the staff and board of Interim House, I thank you for being here.  It means a lot to us to be able to look after our mother’s legacy, and we’re able to do it because of you.  We’re humbled by your presence here, and your generosity.

A few weeks before my mother died, she said, and I quote, “Joycie, you’re going to be president of the Interim House Board.  Don’t worry, you really don’t have to do anything – just go to a couple of meetings a year, and sign some papers sometimes – just make sure that Angie can run the house the way she wants to.”  I wondered – why me?  Her other children work in fields closer to hers than I do.  She certainly had many trusted friends in and around recovery that would have been better choices.  And let’s face it – the closest I’ve ever actually come to working a program was the time I developed a 12-step marketing plan for a Mark Lanegan record.  But here we are, almost 9 years, a couple of fundraisers, several grant proposals and dozens of hours of tutorials on ADA compliance later, and I don’t think I am being disrespectful when I say that my mother had an interesting relationship with the truth on this subject.  But lately, I’ve begun to realize the mad genius that was my mother.  She installed in this position the person close to her who had the least aversion to asking for money.  So here we are.

So far tonight, we have raised over $25,000 toward improvements at Interim House, and by the end of the evening, after all of you have bid on the great items in our silent auction on your left there, we hope to raise much more.

I just want to take a minute to thank my friends who helped to plan this event.  I was amazed how quickly  you all responded when I asked for help.  I am going to read your names and I ask that you all stand to be recognized and embarrassed.  Ami Bennitt, Bing Broderick, Scott Childress, Michael Creamer,  Judy Curley, Toni Elka, Deb Farrar-Parkman, Tom Johnston, Susan Krause, John Maxson, Cathy Moylan, Joanne Ochs, Donna Penn, Anne Renehan and Matthew West.  I am grateful for your creativity, energy and ability to lift heavy objects, and fully expect to be asked to reciprocate (just not this week, okay?)

A little bit about how the rest of the evening is going to go.  In just a minute, we will be presenting the Yvonne Linehan Awards for Public Service in Substance Abuse Recovery to three men who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the staff and residents of Interim House.  After that – high rollers take note -  Rep. Marty Walsh will present a live auction for two very special items – a pair of tickets to sit in Theo Epstein’s personal box for a Red Sox game this season, donated by Theo’s A Foundation to be Named Later, as well as a guided tour of the White House with Congressman Stephen Lynch, including lunch in the member’s dining room  (he’s buying).  Then, the silent auction will close and you can check out your booty.  Following that, please join us in the lounge next door, for readings by five of my favorite writers, who all graciously volunteered their time to be here– Michael Patrick MacDonald, George Pelecanos, Joe Pernice, Tom Perrotta and Warren Zanes.  I am not sure what each of them is reading from, except for Warren, who told me he’d be reading from his new book about his experiences as an American living in Cleveland.  Oh, and Joe is reading from his new book that has a not terribly charming female character that works for a large independent record label  that he swears isn’t me.   And of course I believe him.

But right now, I have the honor of introducing a man I admire very much who is going to present an award to another man I admire.  In the spring of 2006, then-candidate Deval Patrick spent a day in Dorchester, visiting various agencies and groups and listening to people’s concerns.  As part of that day, we arranged for him to have dinner at Interim House, and I got to eavesdrop as he sat with about 10 residents, listening to them talk about their struggles with addiction, and relaying some very personal stories about his own family’s struggles with the same issues.  Granted, I was a strong supporter before, but watching him with these guys gave me the assurance that he understood the issues around substance abuse  – knew that it was a public health issue more than a law enforcement issue – understood the ways that it feeds into other issues like domestic violence, crime, child abuse and so on – had seen for himself the damage it could do to families.  As I said, I was already voting for him anyway, but I think it’s safe to say that anyone in that house who was still sober come election time voted for him as well.  Please join me in welcoming, the Governor of the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Deval Patrick.

Now to present the next award, please welcome my little brother – Dr. David Linehan.

To present the final award, please welcome the Executive Director of Interim House, Angela Fonseca.



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