LYNNFIELD — The State Legislature recently honored the Lynnfield Housing Authority for keeping residents safe from COVID-19.

House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading) and State Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) presented citations to LHA Executive Director Daniel MacIntyre and his staff that praised their efforts after no COVID-19 cases were reported at the Colonial Gardens complex on Ross Drive over the last year-and-a-half.

“It was a very prestigious honor that I didn’t expect,” said MacIntyre. “We are very proud of it. While my staff and I were recognized for not having any COVID cases, I will say it was an extremely collaborative effort from not only the state of Massachusetts, but also the town of Lynnfield.”

LHA Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Wilkie agreed.

“The Board of Commissioners is extremely proud of the work that Executive Director Daniel MacIntyre and the rest of the staff continue to do to keep all of the Ross Drive residents, their visitors and their care providers free of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak,” said Wilkie. “To have zero cases of infection at our state elderly and disabled development was no small accomplishment during a time where so many other local and national housing providers were struggling to keep up with their exploding COVID-19 infection rates of their tenants.”

After the state implemented the stay-at-home advisory in March 2020, the first obstacle MacIntyre and his staff had to deal with was making sure residents would be able to get groceries in a safe manner. He said the Housing Authority partnered with Good Hope, Inc., which is headquartered at Calvary Christian Church, in order to have the food pantry deliver groceries every Tuesday.

“I spoke with Good Hope, Inc. Program Director Kristin Klopotoski, and she was able to provide us with a complete assortment of food,” said MacIntyre. “She did that on a weekly basis for 15 months. She provided us with two 8-foot banquet tables full of the very best food that was top quality. It was the same kind of groceries you would buy at Market Basket. It allowed our vulnerable population to stay put.”

Wilkie helped MacIntyre and Good Hope, Inc. distribute the groceries to residents.

“Mr. MacIntyre coordinated weekly donations from Good Hope, Inc., who provided donations consisting of meats, poultry, fish, fresh produce, bread products, canned and dry goods, which also included breakfast items, household paper products and cleaning items as well as hand sanitizers and masks,” said Wilkie.

Wilkie said the Housing Authority developed an assigned time each Tuesday that allowed residents to pick up their groceries in a contactless way that allowed social distancing to be practiced.

“Mr. MacIntyre took great pains to set up a safe environment for the residents by creating weekly schedules for the residents to visit the community hall to restock for the week,” said Wilkie. “Mr. MacIntyre also worked closely with the Lynnfield Senior Center in order to set up a distribution schedule of prepared meals for our residents in need.”

MacIntyre said the Housing Authority was required to “cobble several processes together” in order to ensure residents were able to pick up their food safely because the state prohibited housing authority employees from entering tenants’ units. He also established an assigned laundry room schedule for residents.

“Tenants had a two-hour window to do their laundry,” said MacIntyre.

MacIntyre said his staff has been “outstanding” throughout the pandemic. He said Housing Manager Gail Hodgdon worked remotely and would come into the office late at night in order to make sure she was not around any of the tenants.

“Gail was extremely careful,” said MacIntyre.

MacIntyre said Maintenance Supervisor Ben Tropeano and his part-time assistant, Fire Lt. Ron Cataldo, thoroughly cleaned the facility.

“They cleaned all of the contact surfaces on a perpetual basis,” said MacIntyre. “In addition to that, we brought in an outside cleaner who came in every 28 days to professionally clean and disinfect all of the public areas in all six buildings.”

MacIntyre said the LHA’s staff and all of the residents followed the safety guidelines developed by the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“We social distanced, we communicated with residents by telephone, we wore masks and we wore protective gear,” said MacIntyre. “The Maintenance Department was always on site in case of emergencies. If I saw anything that didn’t look safe like a family not wearing masks coming in or an unnecessary amount of people going into a building, I respectfully asked them to change whatever they were doing. Fortunately, everyone complied. The residents really did their part by social distancing. There were residents I didn’t see for months because they were strictly following the CDC’s guidelines.”

Wilkie concurred with MacIntyre’s view.

“The Board of Commissioners is extremely proud of the unwavering commitment to our elderly and disabled residents at Ross Drive that Executive Director Daniel MacIntyre, Housing Manager Gail Hodgdon, and the Housing Authority’s maintenance staff, Ben Tropeano and Ron Cataldo, have continued to display during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wilkie.

MacIntyre and the Housing Authority’s staff also worked closely with the Emergency Management Team, particularly Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Glenn Davis, retired Police Chief David Breen and Interim Police Chief Nick Secatore.

“Chief Davis really put the town of Lynnfield on his back,” said MacIntyre. “He lived and breathed the safety of his citizens. Chief Breen was instrumental at the start of the pandemic, and Interim Chief Secatore has been just as supportive.”

MacIntyre thanked Davis, Secatore, Senior Center Linda Naccara, Town Administrator Rob Dolan, Assistant Town Administrator Bob Curtin, Deputy Fire Chief James Wallace and local nurses for setting up vaccination clinics at Colonial Gardens this spring.

“We had Lynnfield’s upper management team donating their time to vaccinate the residents of Ross Drive,” said MacIntyre. “It really was a team effort and was all hands on deck. Everybody pitched in, which was very impressive. The town’s support was essential. We appreciate everyone’s generosity and good work.”

MacIntyre said the efforts undertaken by residents, staff members and local officials were the reasons why the LHA was able to have zero COVID cases at Colonial Gardens.

“We are very, very fortunate that we did not have anyone get COVID or lose their lives due to COVID,” said MacIntyre.

Wilkie said the State Legislature’s decision to honor the Lynnfield Housing Authority is a “testament to the efforts” MacIntyre and his staff “have continued to display, not only during the past 18 months, but throughout their careers at the Housing Authority and to the local community as well.”