MassNAELA Honors State Senator Joanne Comerford and Other Civic Leaders at Annual Meeting

Awards Legislative and Chapter Leaders For Their Advocacy For Seniors; Presents Senator Comerford with the Legislator of the Year Award

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#MassHealth–At its annual meeting held on December 8, 2022, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) honored several individuals for their advocacy of elder services and their commitment to raising awareness of legal issues affecting seniors. Massachusetts State Senator Joanne Comerford was named the Legislator of the Year for her support of MassNAELA, including being the lead sponsor of efforts to limit MassHealth Estate Recovery.

Sarah Long, First Assistant Registrar of the Barnstable Probate and Family Court received the Arthur Stavisky Award, an honor MassNAELA bestows each year to a person who has dedicated themselves to promoting elder causes in the community. Long has provided guidance and collaborated with MassNAELA on improving interactions with the courts.

MassNAELA member, Judy Flynn, Quincy, MA, was presented the Deborah H. Thomson Advocacy Award, which recognizes a MassNAELA member’s efforts in advocating for elder issues in state government. Ms. Flynn not only helps consistently with advocacy efforts but also engages other parties to assist.

The John J. Ford Litigation Advocacy Award, which honors a member’s efforts to educate the chapter membership relative to litigation strategies, was bestowed to C. Alex Hahn, Jamaica Plain, MA, for his dedicated efforts with drafting amicus briefs in appellate cases that pertain to elder law issues.

Each year, MassNAELA recognizes chapter members for their commitment of time and energy to the chapter. The award for Outstanding Chapter Member of the Year was presented to Elizabeth Caruso, Norwell, MA, for her commitment of time and energy to chapter events, workgroups and committees.

The President’s Award was bestowed to Gina Barry, Springfield, MA, for her service to and support of the chapter and its president. Cathleen Summers, Acton, MA, received an award for her service and dedication as the 2022 chapter president.

The MassNAELA annual meeting also included the election of chapter officers and directors for the New Year. The 2023 officers include president, Abigail Poole, Dedham, MA; president-elect, Michael Couture, Somerville, MA; vice president, Erin McBee, Harvard, MA; treasurer, Steven Mann, Waltham, MA; clerk, Alexis Levitt, Norwell, MA; and immediate past president, Cathleen Summers.

Newly elected directors include Gina Barry; Paul J Bella, Braintree, MA; Faith Delaney, Haverhill, MA; Kimberly L. Kelly, Stoneham, MA; Paula A. Nedder, Milford, MA; and Debra Silberstein, Andover, MA.

About MassNAELA

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the premier organization of elder and special needs law attorneys in the country, is dedicated to developing awareness of issues concerning the elderly and those with special needs. Over 450 attorneys are members of the Massachusetts Chapter. Members work directly with the elderly and those with special needs in areas as diverse as planning for catastrophic care costs, disability planning, age discrimination in employment and housing, benefits planning, estate planning, veterans’ benefits and more.

For more information about MassNAELA, visit


Beth Bryant

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