Published January 23, 2019
By DAN TOMASELLO
DANVERS — Close to 400 people came together to celebrate the life and legacy of Michael Dalton during the first annual ‘Think of Michael’ Trivia Night fundraiser at the Breakaway Tavern in Danvers on Jan. 17.
The fundraiser raised $80,000 for the Think of Michael foundation that Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton and his family formed after Michael passed away from an opiate overdose while in outpatient treatment on Jan. 13, 2018. The newly formed foundation seeks to help people suffering from substance abuse by funding scholarships that allow people in recovery to stay at a sober house.
Attendees had the opportunity to enjoy a fun night of trivia, bid on auction items and have some laughs while honoring Michael’s memory. The team that won the Trivia Night competition featured Lynnfield Moms Group members Tina Bruno, Jenny Silva, Keira Capobianco, Lindsay Weiss and Jen Clifford.
The event’s guests enjoyed entertainment provided by DJ/trivia host Tom McNeil and auctioneer Tony V. Marblehead native Maureen Cavanagh also signed copies of her book “If You Love Me.” Think of Michael has partnered with Cavanagh’s nonprofit Magnolia New Beginnings.
Carmela Dalton, who was surrounded by family and friends on Breakaway’s stage, thanked the ceremony’s attendees for supporting Think of Michael and honoring her son’s memory.
“We are deeply touched by all your generosity and the support we have gotten over this past year,” said Carmela.
Carmela thanked the Event Committee for their assistance in helping make the first annual Trivia Night fundraiser a success. In addition to the Daltons’ children Jamie and Stacey and their son-in-law Jon, the Event Committee consists of Natasha Anderson, Patricia Hazelton, Karen Loomos Littlefield, Jen Burnham, Jacqui Driscoll, Candace Doucette, Tony, Louise and Mark Ferullo, Pat Curley, Jason Gardner, Selectman Chris Barrett, Nicole Lamar, Maria Peary, Amanda Petrini, Tammy Ryan, Shirley Sicliano, Jim, Bernadette and Audra Dalton, Pauline Marino, PJ and Lauren Varone, and Colleen and Brett Witherell.
“We are truly blessed tonight by having this amazing group that put this together,” said Carmela. “They served diligently and endlessly. I can’t thank them enough. I love this group and they certainly made this a success. We will forever be indebted to them.”
In closing, Carmela said she is grateful that Michael’s memory continues to shine bright.
“Thank you for thinking of Michael not only tonight, but always,” said Carmela.
After Carmela concluded her remarks, she was given a round of applause.
Dick thanked the fundraiser’s attendees and sponsors for their support.
“Every donation, every sponsorship, every ticket purchased, every live and silent auction donated, all of these, regardless of their monetary value, are priceless,” said Dick. “When we started planning for this event, I thought we might bring together 150 people and maybe raise $15,000. As we stand here tonight, through your generosity, we have raised $58,000 before the live auction and silent auction.”
Dick said Michael would have been touched that so many people came together to celebrate his life.
“Over the past year, many of you have shared with us your recollections of Michael,” said Dick. “The overwhelming majority of you mentioned his smile. This evening, Michael is looking down on all of you with a big smile on his face, humbled by your incredible generosity and overwhelmed by your love. God bless you all.”
The Trivia Night’s presenting sponsors, who each donated $2,000, were The Salem Five Charitable Foundation, Brian Barnett, National Development, Moynihan Lumber, The Cronin Group, Kevin and Leslie McCafferty, Everett Bank and Issues Management Group.
“At the beginning of this process, we thought we would get one or two presenting sponsors,” said Dick. “We ended up with seven and we are very thankful to all of them.”
Dick said the Trivia Night’s platinum sponsors, who each donated $1,200, were Colonna and Doyle, Richard and Kathy Kelly, the John Henry Foundation, Jeff and Kate Fishbone, Peter and Shirley Siciliano, the Barsamian family, DiBiccari family, the Werzanski family and South Coast Construction Sales. The founder sponsors, who each donated over $1,000, were Paul Nuendorfer and Jeffrey Cook.
The gold sponsors, who each donated $700, were Ron Noble, CAM Media, Northrup Associates, the Doucette family, the Driscoll family, Rich Sjoberg, Mark D’Ambrosio, Dante Rizzo, Pomodori’s Restaurant, Jim, Bernadette and Audra Dalton, and Pauline Marino and her family.
Dick also thanked State Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading) and State Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) for attending the fundraiser and supporting Think of Michael.
“We look forward to working with them in the upcoming legislative session on issues relative to substance abuse,” said Dick.
After Dick concluded his remarks, he was given a round of applause.
In an email sent to the Villager, Dick said the outpouring of support for Think of Michael has been amazing.
“Having nearly 400 people attend this event is a testament to the character and compassion of the Lynnfield community,” said Dick. “Throughout this past year and even at the event, so many people have shared with me that they are dealing with a family member who is struggling with addiction. This is truly an epidemic that must be addressed as such. We were leaving Mass at St. Maria Goretti not long after Michael passed. A good friend of ours approached us and as a part of his expressing his condolences said, ‘When I heard, I said, oh no, this can’t happen to the Dalton family.’ It has stuck with me ever since. Knowing our friend, I’m sure that he was expressing his feelings that it couldn’t happen to the loving and supportive family that he knew us to be. However, what too many people fail to realize that even with that loving and supportive family, living in an affluent community, benefitting from a great education, having good friends, being intelligent and compassionate, none of that makes an individual immune from this insidious disease.”