By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Region – State and Marlborough city officials participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and the Forrest family was honored as longtime supporters of Greater Marlboro Programs, Inc. (GMPI), as the nonprofit agency officially opened its new headquarters Feb. 25.
GMPI moved Dec. 4 from its former location on Mechanic Street to 65 Boston Post Rd. West, Suite 220, in Marlborough. There, the conference room is named in honor of the Forrest family. The Jim Forrest Memorial 5K Run/Walk has benefitted GMPI for the past 20 of the fundraiser’s 30 years.
Founded in 1973, GMPI now serves over 300 families with developmentally disabled children and adults in Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough and other Metrowest communities.
The agency’s supporters were welcomed to an open house by Carol Manne, president and CEO of GMPI.
“The biggest reason we wanted to have this open house is for a special family,” she said. “The Forrest family has been connected to GMPI for many, many years. We can’t thank them enough for all the support and generosity that they’ve extended to GMPI.”
More than two dozen family members attended the open house including Pat Forrest, who organized the race in memory of his father Jim, a former Marlborough firefighter and city councilor. He spoke on behalf of his family.
“This is a great honor for us,” he said. “We hope to continue our relationship with this race. It’s for a very, very good cause.”
Funds raised by the road race help support the agency’s transportation, Special Olympics, and social and recreation programs, noted Jim Karami, GMPI director of transportation.
Last year’s race raised $28,000, and hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, Manne added.
Memories of the race were shared by Darren McLaughlin, general manager of Wayside Racquet & Swim Club, the fundraiser’s annual host.
“I can’t think of a better family and a more justified honor than to dedicate this conference room to them,” he said.
Boston Marathon legend Dick Hoyt was pleased to attend the conference room dedication.
“There’s no better guy around for this program than Pat Forrest,” he said. “He’s so generous with everything that he does.”
Other Forrest siblings in attendance were Faith Buscone, Alberta Fitzpatrick, Tom Forrest and Jacqueline O’Rourke. Their brother Peter Forrest was unable to travel from his home in Pennsylvania. Deceased siblings are Dennis and Paul Forrest.
Joining Manne for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant; state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton; state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, Susanne Morreale Leeber, president and CEO of Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce; Denise Vojackova-Karami, GMPI vice president of developmental services; and Stephen Barbera, GMPI board chair.
The L&M Jazz Trio provided musical entertainment.
GMPI’s new location accommodates an expanding administrative staff. More space also allowed adding a family support center with activities, conference and sensory rooms. A computer lab is nearby. A larger kitchen will be used to help teach daily living skills, Manne explained.
“We can offer more after-school programs for children and young adults,” she said. “We’ll be able to do activities, from cooking to working on a resume.”
The agency received grants from Digital Federal Credit Union, Foundation for MetroWest and Marlborough Brigham Family Trust. Those funds went toward after-school activities and furnishings for the sensory room.
“We’re thrilled to be here,” Manne said of the new GMPI headquarters.
For more information about GMPI, visit gmpinc.org and facebook.com/pages/Greater-Marlboro-Programs-Inc/106968744740.
Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.