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HMEA Incred-ABLE Day 2022 at King Street Park June 12th

Organization Provides Services to Those with Developmental Disabilities
 By J.D. O’Gara
HMEA Incred-ABLE Day is back in person, in a new location this year. The event, which raises funds to help provide services to children and adults who have developmental disabilities, will take place at King Street Memorial Park, 740 King St., Franklin, on June 12, 2022, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“The biggest (news) is finally we’re going live again,” says Doug MacPherson, VP Development & Public Relations for HMEA. “The past two years we’ve been strapped to our desks, strapped to Zoom, so finally, this year with many people vaccinated and many people boosted, we said let’s do a live event, and everyone raved about it.”
In the past, the event has taken place on the grounds of the Dell Corp. in Franklin, which has been extremely supportive of HMEA, but MacPherson explains, that with COVID-19, “They weren’t ready yet to have visitors come back on site.” When HMEA looked to the town of Franklin, he said, Ryan Jette was extremely welcoming, and MacPherson hopes the venue will draw more community participation. 
“In a way, (on Dell grounds), we could never really get as much community participation as we liked,” says MacPherson, adding, “Dell is a huge corporate sponsor and friend that volunteers and always gave us their property.” MacPherson got hold of Franklin Recreation Director Ryan Jette, who offered the use of King Street Memorial Park. “The town of Franklin has bent over backwards to help us with this event. Without it, we have a hard time raising funds for children with disabilities.”
“King Street is a great option for them with paved walkways, plenty of shade with two gazebos on either side of the concession, a playground accessible for children with disabilities on site, it does make for a great venue for this event,” says Jette, who issued the permit for the park location. 
At King Street Park, the event has shifted from a 5K to a community stroll. 
“It’s a quarter of a mile community stroll for family, friends and dogs (leashed). The event is free. We make money from our sponsors, raffle tickets (there are three different raffles) and personal fundraising pages. People don’t have to pay to register – they can come to the event, and what we hope is they will buy some raffle tickets.”
There will be three raffles, including:
• The incred-ABLE Dream Raffle, which offers 34 different prizes you can view online at (
• An incred-ABLE “Quik Pik” 50/50 Raffle ( )
• The incred-ABLE Elite Raffle, available for $5 on the day of the event, with a list of prizes available to view at .
The event includes a large hamburger and hot dog cookout, managed by Sodexo, Dean College’s culinary company, which has catered the event since 2007 and donates the hot dogs. Also available at the event – free ice cream!
The HMEA Incred-ABLE Day, hosted by emcee Gene Lavanchy, will also feature a kids’ fun run, and, as MacPherson puts it, “a ton of inclusive and accessible games and activities,” including yoga, Thai Chi and even a clown. Visitors will also find information on services and support resources.
Volunteers are needed for this large event in the following shifts: 
• 7-10 a.m.- Setup
• 10-2 - Event (volunteers for games, etc.)
• 2-4 - Cleanup
For information on volunteering, visit You can also reach out to Samantha Shepherd, HMEA Volunteer Coordinator, (508) 298.1121 or [email protected], with any questions, suggestions, or potential volunteer connections.
Like many others, HMEA, a 501 c (3) nonprofit, suffered during the pandemic, but MacPherson notes that its facilities and programs are “back open. When (the pandemic) first happened, we were quarantined in houses, and slowly but surely people came back to work. Staffing is still short – in almost every industry, everyone is clawing for staff with sign-on bonuses for nursing, direct care staff and even professionals. We’re still functioning, but this fundraiser is really important to us. We are coming out of the woods, but not fully out of the woods.”
Macpherson continues, “All the funds raised from this event go back to our programs, which serve a little over 4,000 children and adults aged 1 to 101, most of them with developmental disabilities, the two biggest being autism and Down Syndrome.” HMEA’s staff of 650 supports clients in their own homes and at their day habilitation and employment sites, including one in Franklin as well as in Plainville, Millbury and Sterling. HMEA also runs a school in Hudson, the Darnell School, for individuals with high developmental needs whose districts are unable to serve.
Recently, HMEA welcomed a brand-new CEO, Jule Gomes Noack, notes MacPherson, and the nonprofit is in the process of affiliating with Advocates, Inc., that will add a mental health component to what HMEA offers.
HMEA is expecting 750 to 1,000 people to this event. 
“I just hope to see the whole community to this event benefitting children and adults with disabilities,” says MacPherson, adding that “our individuals we support have been clamoring for this. Some haven’t been able to see their friends for 2 ½ years.”
For more information on HMEA and the incred-ABLE Day, visit