About Us


Lee Swekla, President

The safety of my family is important to me, and as the daughter of a Gloucester fisherman, I know that during an emergency every second counts. That's why on-site surgical services are a priority for me.
Lee worked in the field of Medicine for over 30 years as Secretary and Office Manager and retired in 2009.

She is the Co-Founder/Coordinator of the Widow and Widowers Support Group at Addison Gilbert Hospital, and was the coordinator and Instructor of the Fibromyalgia Support Group at Cape Ann Medical Center, along with Tess Phinney, R.N. She co-founded the Women’s Investors of North Shore (WINS).

She was a member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) and served as Woman of Achievement chair, Scholarship chair, Vice President and was President of the local chapter of the Business and Professional Women of Cape Ann from 1992-1994.

Lee served on the Downtown Development Commission in its early years and was a Human Rights Commissioner for the city of Gloucester. She is a member of the American legion Auxiliary and the World War II memorial committee.

She is the co-founder for the Committee for Better Education and was commissioned by the school department to expedite and write a field trip guide to be used by teachers and students for the purpose of exposing students to historical, cultural and recreational resources outside of school in the Cape Ann Area. Lee is a free lance writer who has been published in National Fisherman and the Gloucester Daily Times.

Lee is known as a community activist who believes in grassroots movements and the power of the people. She envisions the Addison Gilbert Citizens Fund as a people's project.

Alphonse J. Swekla, President Emeritus

"I'm alive today because Addison Gilbert Hospital was here for me yesterday. I want to insure that it's there for all of our tomorrows."
After serving 2-½ years in the Navy Al enrolled at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) where he earned his BS degree in Biology. He joined the UNH Football team and was elected co-captain of the Wildcats in 1949 and was named to both the All Yankee conference team as well as the All New England team. In 1994 he was inducted into the UNH 100 Club Hall of Fame.

He went on to get his Masters degree in Education from Boston University. Additional schools included Gordon College, Tilton and Salem State.

In 1951 he secured a job with the Gloucester School System, teaching junior high science. His administrative post began in 1965 when he became Assistant Principal at Central Grammar School. He became principal in 1968 and went on to become Principal of Fuller School in 1972. He then became the first Principal of the Ralph B. O’Maley School when it opened. He became Assistant Superintendent and assumed the Superintendent’s post in 1985.
During his tenure as teacher he was football line coach for GHS under Nate Ross.

Al went on to be elected to the Gloucester School Committee where he served 6 years and then was elected to the city Council where he served another 6 years bringing his total commitment to the city of Gloucester and it’s citizens (many of whom were his students) to 49 years of service.

Al has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades during his career, including the Extraordinary Service Award from the Gloucester School Committee and the Distinguish Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He was once dubbed "the Dean of Gloucester Public Servants."

Michael McLeod, Vice President

What is more important to you as you get older — your family or your hospital? We feel they are both the most important things in our lives as we need them both to be healthy. That's why we are asking for your support — for all our families to stay healthy in time of need. Our group was formed to help the Addison Gilbert Hospital operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we do not support our hospital and have surgeons available 24/7, we will have longer to travel for treatment. In a medical emergency, we all know that time is so important to staying alive.

Dr. Elizabeth Curtis, M.D., Medical Advisor

As we launch the Addison Gilbert Hospital Citizen Fund, my personal memories of AGH are so vivid — the tonsillectomy, age 5 when I refused the wheel chair "zig zagging" down the corridor while my mother whispered to the nurse "let her go."

As a first grader making hospital rounds with my mother insisting she stops and listen, while I announced "I'm not going to be a doctor" and those wheel chairs fight with my brother Manning outside the ER while we waited for Mom "to sew somebody up."

What I don't remember is the day my mother almost died after giving birth to me. Saved by emergency surgery, Dr. Babson, Lunberg, and Ross and efficient med-surg nurses in attendance.

Although the practice of medicine and surgery continues to evolve as technological advances improve our diagnostic and therapeutic skills, the need for a "bricks and mortar" physical site for the caring of acutely ill patients remains.

While telemedicine can transfer images of MRIs and X-Rays and experts can render opinion from remote locations it cannot replace the eyes and ears and caring hands of physicians and nurses. They will always remain the foundation of successful patient care.

Addision Gilbert Hospital Citizens Fund — FULL SPEED AHEAD!
Elizabeth T. Curtis, MD
(Daughter of Dr. Ever Curtis)

John Kadim, MBA, Treasurer

John has been a resident of Gloucester his entire life.

He graduated with honors from Southern New Hampshire University with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management. There he became a member of Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Honor Society for graduate students. John also graduated Cum Laude from Salem State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, with minors in Pre-Law and Psychology. While completing his undergraduate degree, John was a peer mentor to prospective and current freshman undergraduate students. He was also active in the Pre-Law Society for three years.

John has been working in the Real Estate Management field for the last 5 years. He has earned his Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS), and Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) designations through the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and Community Association Institute (CAI). He has been a member of 2 committees through CAI for the last 2 years as well.

He was also the "Professor's Choice Leadership Institute Nominee" in 2012, and was recently nominated for IREM’s "30 under 30" management professionals in 2017.

"As someone who suffers from severe, life threatening allergies and who has been treated at Addison Gilbert Hospital Emergency Room for this condition, it is of great comfort and importance to me to know that the help I need to open my air way and restore breath is only moments away. When your throat is closing and you can't breathe, every second counts."

Barry Michaud

As a long time contractor in the greater Gloucester area, I've come to know the importance of a local hospital, and the security it offers. I've often wondered what might have happened if I injured myself on the job, and had to travel for treatment. We need this hospital!

Bonnie Steele Bedell

Our community deserves acute care 24/7 at Addison Gilbert Hospital. We all know seconds count when there is a medical crisis and seconds seem like hours when you have to travel for help. No one should have to bare the additional stress of an unnecessary trip. No parent wants to have to transport a child with an injury or illness any further than is absolutely necessary. We are an active and vibrant community and we have an award winning hospital....we need to staff it to support our island.

June Cook-Madruga, RN, M.Ed, Nurse Advisor

A Registered nurse for many years June knows first-hand about the complexities of today's Health Care System. Having worked both at Addison Gilbert Hospital for 22 years and in Boston area hospitals for 20 years including MIT, she has seen the difference between a community hospital and a research facility.

In 1982, at the request of a family member who was having Chemotherapy at a Boston Hospital, she helped launch the first Oncology Unit at Addison Gilbert now called the Gordon Specialty Center and Cancer Care Center, with over 3,000 patients visits yearly. A much needed resource for our community.

She Founded Sunrise Transportation which provided safe daily door-door transportation for 350+ children annually; she employed 28 employees.

In 2013 she founded New England Healthcare Advocates, providing Care Management, Medical Research and Medication Management. It was in this business she noticed clients leaving Addison Gilbert for hospitals out of town for surgical services. Services we need for our growing aging population.

A former Wellspring Board Director and a past member of the North Shore Workforce Investment Board. She is presently a volunteer at the Rose Baker Senior Center.

Carol Pallazolla

As an active employee of PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) I know how important it is to have a full service hospital. PACE utilizes all the benefits of Addison Gilbert Hospital (AGH) for their participants. That is why I believe in the Addison Gilbert Hospital Citizens Fund. AGH is important to us and needs to provide on site surgical and ancillary services for the residents of Cape Ann.
Carol is a native and life-long resident of Gloucester who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bridgewater State College. She is a board member of the Friends of the Gloucester Council on Aging and a volunteer at the senior center where she teaches the Arthritis Exercise Program. She also teaches Aerobics at the Cape Ann YMCA in Gloucester and the Sterling Center YMCA in Beverly.

The mother of six year old son Sam started her career serving at Greycliff Nursing Home (now Golden Living Center of Gloucester) in the activities department where she was employed for six years. She then worked for the Beverly Council on aging Senior Center as the Program Director for six years. Previous experience includes working for Beverly Hospital in the Northeast Senior Health Division for 3 years and is currently employed with PACE, a non-profit organization that provides coordinated, managed, community based healthcare for people age 55 and older.

Josh Silva

Josh Silva was born and raised in Gloucester, Massachusetts within walking distance of Addison Gilbert Hospital. His parents still live there and most of his family resides in Gloucester.

He holds a Master's degree in political science from American University, a Bachelor's Degree in political science from Plymouth State University and was a graduate of Gloucester High School.

With a professional background in communications and fundraising, Josh is currently a press officer for public relations and branding at Oxfam America, a global relief and development organization. In less than three years at Oxfam, his fundraising program has brought in over $3,000,000 in unrestricted revenue and over 20,000 new donors for the organization.

"Now living in Boston, people often ask me where I am originally from. When I tell them, 'Gloucester,' they mention that I grew up where everyone goes to vacation. It's a reminder that Gloucester's population swells in the summertime and emergency facilities for visitors, year-long and summer residents, is a must."

"I grew up, and my parents live, within 5 minutes of AGH. Most of my family lives on the island. I feel safe knowing they can get emergency care if they need it that close to home."

Robert B. Ryan

Addison Gilbert Hospital is our local community hospital founded in 1889. I am a Gloucester native, and I was born there. I strongly feel that the residents of Cape Ann must do everything in their power to support Addison Gilbert Hospital to assure that it continues as a full service medical and surgical acute care hospital performing and maintaining all the essential services as defined in the State's definition of "emergency services."

What can be more important than the safety and well being of Cape Ann's residents? I think we all agree that in an emergency, time is of essence.
 

Gloria Burnham, Community Nurse Liaison

Megan Merlin

Megan was born and raised in Gloucester and has lived in close proximity to AGH for several years. As a child and as a parent now herself, Megan and her family have used the emergency department countless times over the years and value the needed service in our community. Megan lives with her husband, daughter, and their 2 cats. She works in Gloucester as the Project Coordinator for Action Inc., a local non-profit serving those most in need on Cape Ann.

Alex Kadim, Youth Development Director

Alex Kadim, a lifelong Gloucester resident, is a second year college student pursuing a degree in Social work.

While attending Gloucester High School Alex was part of the MCJROTC (Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps). He Captained the armed drill team for two of his three years in the program.

After graduating High School, Alex worked at the Cape Ann Medical Center as a receptionist and a call center operator while training to be a Medical Assistant. During this time he became a Medical Scribe working closely with Doctors helping and serving patients, which he describes as "the most valuable learning experience I could have ever received."

As well as the medical experience Alex had received while working, he has had an immeasurable amount of experience as a patient having had nine surgeries in his first 16 years of life to correct, reconstruct and fuse bones because of a birth defects. This involved numerous trips to Boston and other hospital facilities because of lack of Orthopedic Pediatric surgery locally. Alex has a deep empathy for patients and their families and understands the need for surgery at Addison Gilbert Hospital.

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