Laura Dillingham-Mailman, Director
Laura has been the C.O.A. Senior Center Director since February, 1993. She received her B.A., Education, History from R.I. College in 1975. She taught Special Education in a private school in Westfield, MA before marrying and moving to Lawrence. She "subbed" in Lawrence until moving to Merrimac in 1979. in 1987 she returned to the classroom to teach Kindergarten at Ann Crane's in Haverhill. When her youngest child was in the 3rd grade she accepted the Director's position at the Council on Aging in Merrimac. During her tenure the services and programs have continued to increase to meet the growing needs of the senior population and their families. A new Senior Center was built in 2001. A meals program was established in 1995 and today the Senior Center enjoys excellent home-style cooked meals (maybe better), Monday through Friday. Transportation services have increased with the addition of vans, and the staff works as a team to provide services, activities, and special programs. There is never a dull moment! Laura is the proud recipient of the Massachusetts Councils on Aging & Senior Centers Director of the Year Award, 2002 and Unsung Heroin Award, 2013.
When not at the Senior Center, Laura can be found in her garden, traveling, singing in the choir, reading a book or cooking for a family “gathering”. She lives in Merrimac with her husband, George and various family pets, including 3 dogs and 2 cats. She has three grown children Kirstin (who lives in St. Louis), Karen (lives in Merrimac) and Katrina (who lives in Kittery with her husband and their beautiful daughter), and several "adopted kids and grandkids" that she also adores.
Ann M. Murphy, Administrative Assistant
Ann moved to Merrimac from Pennsylvania after her marriage to "Jack" in 1976. She taught Home Economics at the Pentucket Middle School for 6 years prior to beginning her family. She has a daughter, Colleen (who is married and has a beautiful son, Liam) and a son, John (who is married and now lives in the Cincinnatti, Ohio area with their son, Jack. He is a former Navy officer and served in Iraq).
Ann worked for Northshore Realtors for 11 years prior to accepting the Adminstrative Assistants position here.She brings her extensive knowledge of office management and computer skills to the position.
When not at work, she is enjoying her grandsons and doing projects with her husband. Sometimes she gets to enjoy her pool and cookouts with friends during the warm weather.
Sandra Blanchet, Volunteer Coordinator
Sandy began working at the Senior Center as a volunteer and became the Volunteer Coordinator when the position became available. She is responsible for finding volunteers for the NEET program (Northern Essex Elder Transport), the reception desk, helping with luncheon set-up and clean-up, activities, fairs, and more. Sandy enjoys knitting in her spare time.
Nick Fiorello, Van Driver
Nick helps coordinate senior transportation as the part-time van driver. Nick and his wife Colleen (who is our COA Board of Directors Chairwoman and COA Director in Georgetown) moved to Merrimac in 1980. He grew up in Queens, NY. He and Colleen have 3 adult girls, Katheryn, Elizabeth and Allyson. Katie is married and has two adorable girls. Elizabeth recently married. He works Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. He also assists the staff with the online newsletter and computer problems!
Bonnie Kitsakos, Nutrition Program Director
In addition to her full time job, Bonnie is the go-to person for the Senior Center. She brings her talents, resources, knowledge and cheerful smile to the Senior Center. She is the proud grandmother of a beautiful baby girl born to her daughter Kaitlyn.
Eileen Murray, Cook
Eileen joined the staff this year bringing with her experience of managing a kitchen for a hospital and is ServSafe certified and Allergen certified. She is unflappable and her love for cooking is obvious as she is always happy and her food is unbelievable! She lives with her husband and son (who is a huge Bruins fan) in Groveland.
Charlotte Eileen Stepanian, BS, RN, MSN, Public Health Nurse
As the Public Health Nurse, Eileen, as she is known at the Senior Center serves a dual role by also providing services to the seniors at the Senior Center. Blood Pressure Clinics are regularly held at MerriVillage on Monday (1 pm), and at the Senior Center on Tuesday (1 pm), as well as Flu Clinics.
In addition to being the Public Health Nurse, she has received several awards including Public Health Nurse of the Year by the Public Health Nurses Association in 2003 and was named National Public Health Nurse of the Year-Lillian Wald Award in 2012. Eileen teaches public health nursing at Endicott College and St. Joseph's College (Maine) her alma mater. She was named a Fellow of Local Public Health by the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts (Boston University) in 2013.
Gerry Morenski, Outreach Coordinator
Gerry coordinates the Outreach Services for the seniors in Merrimac. To make an appointment, call the Senior Center at 978-346-9549. Gerry moved to Merrimac about 7 years ago. She has one daughter that is a diplomat (you must ask her about that!) and a son that lives and attends Graduate School in Chicago.
Gerry's father was killed during the last days of WWII and buried in the ABMC Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten. Dutch families have adopted and maintained the graves of our 8,301 military dead, by visiting them with flowers and often becoming friends with family members of the deceased. Gerry has volunteered as a board member of American WWII Orphans Network in their memory (AWON) and helping family members of those killed. She has led several groups to the Netherlands for Memorial Day ceremonies held each year by the Dutch government.
Christina Connor, Senior Aide
Christina recently joined us as the senior aide, helping us in a number of ways she drives the van on Mondays and Fridays, helps in the kitchen when needed, and assists the staff in various tasks. Christina lives with her husband, Andrew and their beautiful daughter, Stephanie.