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Personalities who shined in MetroWest, Milford

Time:2019-01-01 01:38wine - Red wine life health Click:

Milford MetroWest Personalities shined

Every region has its personalities, and the MetroWest and Milford regions are no different. Below are some of the people who made news this past year:  

1.) Connor Walker, of Marlborough

Walker, 19, is the former Marlborough High football star and current player at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury during a football game in September.

Initially, his family thought he may never walk again. But not only is Walker up and about - despite having no feeling in his legs - he plans to return to college at Saint Anselm's next month, with feeling in his legs or not.

While luck may have something to do with Walker's recovery, medication and cutting-edge therapies have allowed him and others to live life with greater optimism and increased mobility.

2.) Beverly Hector-Smith, of Natick

As part of a slavery series focused on local connections, Hector-Smith, 80, of Natick, was able to reach back into her own family's history and pull out an impressive lineage of slavery, followed by a daring escape by her great-great-grandfather, Thomas H. Jones.

With countless boxes of documents, drawings and records of her great-great-grandfather's journey, Hector-Smith was able to piece together everything about his life into one space. Her collection also follows the lineage of her own family before and after Jones.

3.) Karen Schulman, of Milford

Schulman advocates for Joe Labriola, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison about 45 years ago. Schulman has been pleading his innocence, and advocating for his release.

Now, hopes look high for Labriola to be released on medical leave after a long battle with COPD due to the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Schulman hopes that if Labriola is released, he'll have a proper and permanent place in her own Milford home.

4.) Michael Walsh, of Millis

After his son, Benjamin, was accused of murdering his longtime girlfriend in a Needham apartment before attempting the same on his parents in an popular restaurant in Millis, Michael Walsh was willing to speak about his son's mental health a little more than a week after the incident occurred.

Despite the heartbreak and tragedy, he forgives his son and willingly discussed mental health issues and how important finding some sort of cure or stabilization is so important.

5.) Curtis Whitney, of Marlborough

Memories of Whitney's years aboard the USS Bristol fill the World War II veteran with each stroke of his paintbrush. Whitney, 94, recently painted a portrait of the ship, which was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea in October 1943. It is just one of the many paintings Whitney has made in the past several decades.

Whitney paints for a few hours each day and will have his artwork displayed at Lost Shoe Brewing Company when it opens soon.

6.) Maria Robinson, of Framingham.

Robinson became the first Korean-American elected to the Massachusetts Legislature on Nov. 6, when she captured the 6th Middlesex seat for state representative. She is also the first person of color to hold the seat, which represents much of Framingham.

She easily won her party's nomination in a September primary, earning more than half the vote in a race that featured all write-in candidates. The clean-energy policy expert has big shoes to fill, as she will be replacing the late Chris Walsh, who died of cancer in May.

7.) Justin Graceffa, of Hudson.

Graceffa's life changed forever on the night of Aug. 5, 2007. Graceffa, now 31, was returning to his apartment in Durham, New Hampshire, when he realized he did not have a key and tried to climb a balcony to get into his apartment. He fell 22 feet to the ground, breaking two vertebrae and shattering another. The fall left him a quadriplegic.

But despite his condition, Graceffa graduated last spring from the Berklee College of Music in Boston - 13 years after he started his studies.

8.) The students who care about gun violence

After a school shooting in February killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, local students stepped up.

Eloquent and passionate, dozens of students in the Milford and MetroWest areas said they continued to see a frequent cycle of insincere outrage and eventual complacency after the deaths of their peers. They coordinated with one another to organize protests, participate in statewide and nationwide walkouts and emphasized the importance of voting.

9.) Christopher Hudalla, cannabis scientist

There’s a lot more to marijuana than getting high. Just ask the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Milford-based ProVerde Laboratories, Christopher Hudalla.

The scientist has amassed a wealth of information on how cannabis and hemp work, down to the chemical components of the plants. Different strains, cannabinoids, terpenes, growing conditions and combinations of each make a huge difference on the function of the final product.

Under Hudalla and co-founder and CEO Dorian Des Lauriers, the business tests marijuana, rather than sell or cultivate it, and ProVerde plans to apply to the state to test adult-use marijuana, in addition to medical.

10.) The Vandervalks, of Mendon

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