Grand opening – Governor Patrick tours Leonard Florence Center for Learning

Governor Deval Patrick delivered stirring remarks to a large crowd of dignitaries and residents following a tour of the Leonard Florence Center for Living – the nation’s first specialized ALS Residence last Friday morning.

The governor’s cabinet held its weekly meeting in private at the facility.

All the cabinet members were present and toured the LFCL as well.

Governor Patrick spoke with City Manager Jay Ash and Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman by his side.

The governor said he was overwhelmed by the good going on at the center, and by the facility itself, which uses state of the art technology for those with ALS to live despite a challenging condition.

“I am absolutely amazed at the effort for others being made here everyday. This is what life as we want it to be is about,” he said.

The grand opening of the LFCL center with the governor delivering remarks helped to showcase the LFCL, which is richly appointed and staffed, giving an unusually spectacular presence to an architecturally designed showcase that sits atop the rear of Admiral’s Hill.

The ALS residence was created and designed by Steve Saling, a landscape architect who has ALS.

The governor met with Saling, visited in his room and introduced him to the crowd at the opening.

“The ALS residence offers unprecedented automation that provides unparalleled independence and productivity. People with ALS come here to live with the disease, not to die of it,” he added.

For Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Berman, the ground breaking was a dream come true after many years of hard work.

“The mission, concept and design of the Leonard Florence Center for Living and its receptive specialized houses is truly revolutionary in that it is changing the way in which we conceive of long and short term care not only for resident but also for the staff and the medical professionals who care for them,” Berman said.

The LFCL consists of ten condo-style homes with each residence containing ten private bedrooms arranged around a dining room, open kitchen and common living room area. It is conceived largely for the elderly and the disabled as well as those seeking short –term rehabilitation.

The grand opening attracted people from all walks of life including the governor and his cabinet members – among the most notable, Ian Bowles, secretary of the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan, City Manager Jay Ash, State Senator Sal DeDomenico, Representatives Gene O’Flaherty and Kathi Anne Reinstein, Police Chief Brian Kyes and Chelsea Councillors Brian Hatleberg, Richard Maronski and Dan Cortell.

Also present were members of the late Leonard Florence’s family, staff members of the facility and dozens of invited guests.

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