After 39 years at the helm, James P. Cunningham, Jr. retired on Tuesday, June 30, from the Chelsea Revere Winthrop Elder Services (CRWES) organization.
Cunningham has served as Executive Director and CEO of the agency, which was the first home care agency established in Massachusetts, and has served as the pilot program for elderly services for the rest of the State.
Cunningham grew up in Lynn and is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School. He attended Merrimack College, St. John’s College, and Salem State College; he also earned two Master’s degrees. After his term of service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he received an honorable discharge as a lieutenant. He then worked with various State and Federal agencies prior to coming to CRWES in 1975. The popular and unassuming Cunningham attributes the outstanding success of the agency to a competent and devoted staff, and an active Board of Directors, which has presided over the agency’s growth and evolution.
Allan Alpert, Chelsea’s Emergency Development Director and a CRWES Board Member, has worked with Cunningham over the years in Emergency Planning Programs, which have been recognized by State and Federal officials.
He recalled that the Chelsea Jewish community named Cunningham as the first ‘Mensch of the Year’.
Ellen Howe, current Board president, praised Cunningham’s efforts to provide programs and services to thousands of elders, persons with disabilities, and their families. Howe indicated that the Board of Directors voted not to replace Cunningham, but rather to merge with Mystic Valley Elder Services.
“In this day and age of cons
olidations of hospitals, banks, pharmacies, and retail stores, it makes sense for us to join forces with a larger entity,” said Carol Tye, clerk of the Corporation.
“Some of the advantages will be the ability to link up with additional health care programs and hospitals, to draw upon larger funding opportunities, and to establish overall efficiencies in the programs.” Charles Chapman, Treasurer of the Board, stated, “Hillary Clinton said that it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes an agency to replace Jim Cunningham.”
Cunningham was honored with a luncheon and retirement party at the Wyndham Hotel in Chelsea on Tuesday, June 30. The Board presented him with a Chelsea Clock as a token of its gratitude.