Governor Patrick and Ruthir May Therian and son
Governor Deval Patrick went out to Springfield to hear how stimulus is helping the people in that area get back on their feet. Their stories, heard by everyone sitting around a table at the Alliance to Develop Power, were inspiring but they were also something more: They demonstrate the import of the stimulus program on ensuring that not only can many people survive the current recession but they can also emerge with a direction and a plan.

The Governor got a chance to hear from someone like Ruthie May Therrian who came with her 8-year old son Dhimani. Therrian, a college student at Holyoke Community College, told the Governor that if she would not have the transportation provided by the Holyoke Head Start to get her 5-year old daughter, J'Nyalise, to the Head Start program she would not be able to continue her education. That's why, she said, she was so excited about the stimulus grant that provided the Head Start with a bus so parents have the transportation they need and they can go to work, school

Roundtable with the Governor
and provide for their families. "It might seem like small thing," Therrian told the Governor, "but now they can go to work."

Therian's story was echoed by Randy Moquian, a weatherization auditor for Springfield Partners for Community Action. Moquain was unemployed before a stimulus grant helped him get training so he could get his job. Justine Williams was there because her house had received stimulus funded weatherization services. Jeffrey Bradshaw is a weatherization contractor and thanks to the increase in stimulus funded weatherization services he has been able to hire 6 additional employees. As the Governor pointed out that's not only six people who have jobs, it's also six people who can now buy groceries and pay their bills.

YouthBuild Participants and Coordinator
Tracy D'agostino was unemployed before she was hired by the Springfield Career Center in a stimulus funded position. The irony that her job is now to help others find jobs was lost on no one.

Michael Malone, the vice chancellor for research and engagement at UMass, Amherst, spoke about the impact stimulus funds have had on the university's ability to help more students get a college education through scholarships and aid.

Springfield Fire Chief Gary Casanelli described to the Governor the impact stimulus funds will have on his department - it will be hiring eight additional firefighters. "It will allow us to put a fire company back in service," he said. Similarly, Springfield Police Commissioner Bill Fitchett said stimulus funds will allow his department to hire five new officers and upgrade its communications systems. "A police department is about communications," he said.

The room was very quiet as Adlin Villalba read her story to the Governor. She was

Roundtable Participants
clearly nervous as she talked about being a 25-year old single mother of three young children who was having a hard time getting a job because of a felony conviction in her background. She felt she had no prospects until she saw an ad for YouthBuild a stimulus-funded program that helps young people get their lives back on track. "I thought I was perfect for YouthBuild," she told the Governor.

Turns out she was. Villalba is a 2008 graduate of the program and got a job at Kevin's Painting & Wallpaper, where she trained.

When the Governor asked if anyone in the room had any questions, there was just one. It was from Therian. She wanted to know how the Governor slept at night knowing he helped so many people.

It was evident he would sleep well that night.