THE THINK OF MICHAEL FOUNDATION’S Event Committee celebrates a successful fourth annual Trivia Night fundraiser with Kiss 108 FM radio host and special guest auctioneer Billy Costa on May 19. (David Volkmann Photo)


Hundreds attend Trivia Night fundraiser


WAKEFIELD — Michael Dalton’s life and legacy continue to make a difference in people’s lives.

The Think of Michael Foundation hosted its fourth annual Trivia Night fundraiser at the Four Points By Sheraton in Wakefield on May 19. Four hundred people came together to enjoy a fun night of trivia, laugh and raise money to help people with substance use disorder. The event was held at the hotel for the first time in the wake of Breakaway in Danvers closing its doors in January.

While proceeds from Trivia Night were still being tallied when the Villager went to press on Tuesday morning, Think of Michael Treasurer Dick Dalton said the fundraiser was a huge success once again.

The Dalton and Cook families formed Think of Michael after Michael 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. The foundation also supports a number of recovery-related initiatives.

“I want to thank every one of you for being here with us this evening,” said Think of Michael President Carmela Dalton. “Because of your unwavering support and generosity, we have been able to touch the lives of so many people struggling with substance use disorder. I also want to thank our family and friends who have been by our side during our darkest hours.”

Carmela presented the Michael V. Dalton Making a Difference Award to State Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston).

“Rep. Adrian Madaro serves as the House chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery,” said Carmela. “He is someone I have known for many years. As a little boy, he used to come to my house with my nephew PJ for dinner on Sunday nights. He has been a tireless advocate for legislation and funding that is making a difference. We are so proud of you.”

STATE REP. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston) accepts the Michael V. Dalton Making a Difference Award while Think of Michael Foundation Treasurer Dick Dalton and Think of Michael Foundation President Carmela Dalton look on with pride during the fourth annual Trivia Night fundraiser on May 19. (Dan Tomasello Photo)




Madaro thanked the Think of Michael Foundation for presenting him with the award.

“This award is so meaningful to me both personally and professionally,” said Madaro. “In the House, I chair the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. In that role, I have had the privilege of partnering with amazing individuals and advocates who are doing transformative work to address the behavioral health concerns that we have in Massachusetts.”

Madaro said two organizations that he works closely with “have connections to the Dalton family.”

“North Suffolk Community Services is the premier provider of behavioral health services in my district of East Boston and surrounding communities,” said Madaro. “(Think of Michael Vice President) Jamie Dalton is a key member of the North Suffolk family. He is the manager of the recovery coaches, and it’s been a privilege to partner with him and the entire team at North Suffolk to address local and statewide issues. They do amazing work.”

Madaro also recalled that the Dalton family is involved with the nonprofit organization RecoveryWorks.

“This is an awesome program,” said Madaro. “It helps folks in recovery gain employment and find wonderful career opportunities. That helps folks not only have dignity, but makes them feel as though they are contributing members of society. That helps them stay on the road to recovery. Jamie is a proud graduate of RecoveryWorks. He is an example of why this model is such an effective one.”

Madaro recalled that his close friend PJ Varone is Jamie’s cousin, and is Carmela and Dick’s nephew.

“I have memories of his mother Pauline bringing us to Lynnfield to see his cousins, aunt and uncle,” said Madaro. “It has been really special to reconnect with Jamie and his parents through our work supporting those in recovery. I want to thank the Dalton family for this recognition. It is truly special.”

Trivia Night’s attendees gave the Dalton and Cook families a round of applause.

“This is such a beautiful way to honor Michael’s memory,” said Madaro. “The Think of Michael Foundation is doing absolutely amazing work in the community. They are not only raising money to make sure folks in recovery get sober home scholarships, but they are also breaking down barriers that those in recovery and those fighting substance use disorder have to deal with it. They are combating the stigma of addiction that is still very alive and well. Thank you for what you do.”

Think of Michael Vice President Stacey Cook thanked all of the people and businesses that donated raffles, silent auction and live auction items to the Trivia Night fundraiser.

“We wouldn’t be here without them,” said Stacey.

Stacey recalled that the Think of Michael Foundation is a supporter of the Roxbury-based Ruth Kelley House, and its annual Christmas fundraiser. The Ruth Kelley House is part of the Dimock Center, and is home to 14 mothers in recovery along with 28 children.

“My favorite thing that the foundation does is partner with the Ruth Kelley House,” said Stacey. “Ruth Kelley is a sober woman who is truly an inspiration and a mentor to all of us. She and her husband run this home in Roxbury for women and children. We started doing stockings for kids. My kids Maddie, Lucas and Ava have taken on the Birthday Project, which is a collection we do with the help of the community to celebrate the birthdays of the kids at the Ruth Kelley House.”

While Jamie Dalton said Trivia Night is “very emotional” for him and his family, he said its very rewarding because it allows the foundation to “help so many people throughout the year.”

“My father and I write checks for sober house scholarships every week,” said Jamie. “We are always going through people’s applications. That is the core of what we do, but we have also been able to expand to other areas to help people.”

Jamie recalled that Think of Michael and A Healthy Lynnfield co-sponsor “A Night of Hope” on the Town Common each September as part of National Recovery Month.

“We are able to light up the center of town in purple,” said Jamie. “It allows people to come together and celebrate what recovery is. We bring resources into the community, raise awareness and decrease the stigma.”

Jamie said Think of Michael has partnered with other nonprofit organizations such as Bags of Hope, which supports homeless women in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He also said Think of Michael donated to the Women’s Recovery Court Session’s “Empowering Women in Recovery,” which he said is an annual program hosted by the Malden and Cambridge District Courts.

The Think of Michael Foundation has also supported Recovery on the Harbor, No Lost Cause, the Meridian House in East Boston, the Recovery Basketball Tournament, and the Recovery Court’s Continued Support and Alumni Group’s annual meetings and social events.

Jamie also said Think of Michael awards scholarships to Lynnfield High School seniors. He said the foundation co-sponsored last September’s Adopt-a-Pole Campaign that honors people who lost their lives to addiction by hanging purple ribbons on poles during National Recovery Month.

“I had the privilege of hanging one in memory of my brother outside of the recovery center where I work,” said Jamie.

Jamie thanked the 400 attendees for coming to the fourth annual Trivia Night fundraiser.

“We appreciate everyone being here tonight,” said Jamie. “It’s because of your love and support that we are able to do this work all year long.”

Carmela thanked the Think of Michael Foundation Event Committee for helping make the fourth annual Trivia Night fundraiser a huge success. The committee consists of Natasha Anderson, Chris Barrett, Jenn Burnham, Pat Curley, Jim Bernadette, Audra Dalton, Candace Doucette, Jacqui Driscoll, Tony Ferullo, Louise Ferullo, Mark Ferullo, Jay Gardner, Bruce Glinski, Maria Glinski, Patricia Hazelton, Nicole Lamar, Karen Littlefield, Pauline Marino, Maria Peary, Stephen Riley, Michelle Riley, Amanda Petrini, Tammy Ryan, Shirley Siciliano, and PJ and Lauren Varone.

“They worked very hard to make this event a success,” said Carmela. “They are truly a special group.”

Dick recalled that Jan. 13, 2023 marked the fifth anniversary of Michael’s passing.

“Five days later on Jan. 18, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our son Jamie’s sobriety,” said Dick. “We are so very proud him for his sobriety and for the wonderful work he does as the manager of recovery coaches assigned to district and federal courts. He too is making a difference.”

The event’s attendees gave Jamie a round of applause.

Dick thanked all of Trivia Night’s sponsors, including Premier sponsors Everett Bank and Chapters Recovery Center.

“We want to thank all of our sponsors and donors for affording us the opportunity to serve those in need,” said Dick.

The Audettes team featuring Audra Dalton, Andy Long, Michael Long, Sarah Long, Leah MacDonald, Mallory MacDonald, Kathy Ventullo, Maria Ventullo, Neva Ventullo and Nick Ventullo won the Trivia Night competition.

KISS 108 FM RADIO HOST Billy Costa served as the special guest auctioneer once again during the Think of Michael Foundation’s fourth annual Trivia Night fundraiser on May 19. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

Kiss 108 FM radio host Billy Costa served as the special guest live auctioneer for the third straight Trivia Night fundraiser.

“This is awesome,” said Costa. “What a tremendous turnout. I am thrilled to be back here. I have two children in recovery, which makes it more meaningful for me to be here year-after-year.”

Costa said his goal for the live auction was to raise as much money for the foundation as possible.

“It’s my job to make sure you leave here tonight with less money than you arrived with,” said Costa. “All of that money is going to a great cause.”

The live auction included a variety of different items, which included having Boston Bruins anthem singer and Lynnfield resident Todd Angilly perform at an event. Angilly also sang a moving rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Frank Sinatra.