In the midst of the Monday night rain, North End Against Drugs (NEAD) held a Family Dinner / Talk with guest speaker Frank DePaola, the Acting Secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). DePaola was the MassDOT Highway Administrator before being appointed Acting Secretary to fill the position left in October by then-Secretary Richard Davey. DePaola will serve as secretary until Governor-Elect Baker appoints a Secretary to lead the department.
Pasta with meatballs and salad from Limoncello’s was served as kids listened to DePaola speak about his experiences growing up and how they have continued to influence his life and career.
Growing up in Brockton, Massachusetts, DePaola attended the University of Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation, he drove for 3 days to Louisiana to start work. In the 40 years since that drive, he has never been unemployed. Besides doing riverbank work on the Mississippi River, his career has taken him all over Massachusetts. From being hundreds of feet above group walking on steel rails, to hundreds of feet below ground in tunnels throughout the State and below Boston Harbor. DePaola wanted kids to understand that you, “do not have to go to a big expensive private school, or a top Ivy League college to be successful.”
DePaola shared some cool facts to the crowd which was made up of mostly elementary aged kids. Citing that when it comes to rock salt that the highway uses for icy roads in the winter, the state usually consumes 600,000 tons, but last year, 700,000 tons were used due to the harsh conditions of last years winter. Also, the lowest depth of an MBTA subway tunnel is the Red Line station of Porter Square, where the depth reaches a little over 100 feet below ground level.
NEAD works to educate kids in the community about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol abuse while promoting youth to stay involved in community groups, organizations, and sports. The dinner was sponsored by a grant from the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
The night concluded with 3 raffle prizes. Prizes included: 2 Celtics Tickets, a Dustin Pedroia Bobble head, and a Red Sox World Series Replica Ring.
Photos by Conor Finley.