THINK OF MICHAEL FOUNDATION President Carmela Dalton proudly displays her 2022 Commonwealth Heroine Award with House Minority Leader Brad Jones (left) and her husband, Think of Michael Treasurer Dick Dalton. (Courtesy Photo)




LYNNFIELD — Think of Michael Foundation President Carmela Dalton has worked tirelessly to help people fighting substance use disorder win their battle against the insidious disease over the past four years.

Carmela’s hard work was recognized on June 22 when she received a 2022 Commonwealth Heroine Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW) during a reception held at the Venezia restaurant in Boston.

“I was very surprised and humbled to receive the award,” said Carmela. “I never expected to receive it. While I am the recipient of the award, it reflects the hard work done by my family and the Think of Michael Foundation’s Board of Directors. It’s not just me. We are a team.”

The MCSW created the Commonwealth Heroine Award in 2004 to recognize women from around the state “who don’t make the news, but make the difference.”

“Thousands of women in every community of the state perform unheralded acts on a daily basis that make our homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live,” the MCSW wrote on its website. “Commonwealth Heroines use their time, talent, spirit and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others in their community. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who strive to protect and represent the interests of seniors, victims of violence, children, immigrants and other vulnerable populations. They are the glue that keeps a community together.”

Carmela thanked House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading) for nominating her for a 2022 Commonwealth Heroine Award. While she was honored at the Venezia on June 22, Carmela said Jones formally presented her with the award during the Summer Solstice celebration that featured the North Reading Republican and Gov. Charlie Baker at Ralph and Stacey Sevinor’s home on Tuesday, June 21.

“Brad wanted to present the award to me in-person because the legislature was going to be in session while the ceremony was taking place,” said Carmela.

Carmela and her family formed the Think of Michael Foundation in honor of their son and brother, Michael, who passed away from an opiate overdose while in outpatient treatment in January 2018. The nonprofit organization funds scholarships that allow people in recovery to stay at a sober house. Think of Michael hosted its third annual Trivia Night fundraiser at the Breakaway in Danvers in late May, which raised $112,000.

Think of Michael Treasurer Dick Dalton was touched that Carmela received a 2022 Commonwealth Heroine Award.

“It’s well-deserved,” said Dick about his wife. “Carmela has done so much good work over the last four years. She is so committed to helping people. She has touched so many lives.”

Jones agreed.

“No parent should ever experience the loss of a child, but Carmela and her husband have channeled their personal grief into an opportunity to honor Michael’s memory by providing hope and inspiration to others who are struggling with substance use as well as their loved ones,” said Jones in a statement. “Carmela’s commitment to this cause is truly commendable, and her work with the Think of Michael Foundation has had a profound impact on so many people’s lives. Her involvement in the community, her selflessness and her benevolence all exemplify the kind of Commonwealth Heroine that the MCSW seeks to recognize.”

Jones also recalled that the Think of Michael Foundation was named as a 2020 Top Rated Nonprofit. He also noted that the foundation donated $10,000 to the Gavin Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Rent Relief Program.

State Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) said in a statement that Carmela “works tirelessly to combat substance use,” which he said is “one of the toughest epidemics that we see throughout our communities.”

“She has continually identified areas of real need in the community and finds ways to fill them, said Crighton. “Her work has directly improved the lives of so many, and she is so deserving of this great honor.”

Carmela said the ceremony at the Venezia was a “beautiful day.”

“It was amazing to be there with all of these incredible women from across the state,” said Carmela. “Topsfield Fire Chief Jenifer Collins-Brown sat with us. She is one of two female fire chiefs in the state. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito served as the ceremony’s guest speaker. It was a really rewarding and humbling day.”

Dick recalled that he and Carmela recently attended a substance use prevention event where they met a young man who was able to stay in a sober house in January after he received a scholarship from the Think of Michael Foundation. Dick said the young man told the couple that the scholarship also enabled him to pursue an electrician apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“Carmela is touching so many lives,” said Dick. “She is very humble and doesn’t seek out accolades. She is just committed to helping people. She is the backbone of our family and the foundation. I am incredibly proud of her.”

For more information about the MCSW, visit

To learn more about the Think of Michael Foundation, visit