Fitchburg Housing Authority staff member Christy Mylott honored as Commonwealth Heroine – Sentinel & Enterprise

FITCHBURG – Housing Authority Family Resident Service Coordinator and COVID-Coordinator Christy Mylott was honored as a Commonwealth Heroine at a recognition ceremony held on Wednesday at FHA headquarters on Day Street.

The annual awards presented by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women shine a light on women across the state for their extraordinary contributions to their local communities in public or community service. Mylott, a longtime city resident, is being recognized for her tireless work at the FHA throughout the pandemic and joins 125 other honorees, including Julia Armstrong of Leominster and Emily MacRae of Fitchburg.

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Christy Mylott at her ceremony at the Fitchburg Housing Authority’s offices on Day Street where she was honored as the Commonwealth Heroine Class of 2021. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

“Ms. Mylott has dedicated herself to the health and well-being of Fitchburg and the commonwealth her entire career from health care to the Legislature and now with the Fitchburg Housing Authority,” said state Rep. Michael Kushmerek. “There is no one in our community who works more compassionately and diligently to serve the most vulnerable in our community and I am delighted to be able to recognize her work.”

Mylott said she was “thrilled” when Kushmerek called her to tell her he had nominated her for the Commonwealth Heroine award.

“He totally understands seniors and their care,” she said, adding that Kushmerek’s wife works at Montachusett Home Care Corporation (MHCC). “He understands my 30 years of dedication to seniors, and it means a lot to be honored, and for us who serve seniors and advocate for seniors to be acknowledged. There are many of us and many resources, we all work together. This is not just for me it is for all of us who work within senior care or public housing.”

Dozens of people and local and state dignitaries, including Kushmerek, FHA Chair Linda Byrne, Eladia Romero from U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern’s office, MHCC Chief Marketing Officer David Ginisi, City Council President Anthony Zarella, and more gathered to honor Mylott at an event that was held simultaneously with the state’s virtual awards ceremony.

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Christy Mylott at her cermony at the Fitchburg Housing Athority’s offices on Day Street where she was honored as the Commonwealth Heroine Class of 2021. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

“Before COVID I had little knowledge of masks and I knew a little about Christy,” FHA Executive Director Doug Bushman told the crowd. “She organized Fitchburg Housing Authority to face this crisis.”

Bushman said Mylott and the rest of the FHA pandemic team “did a phenomenal job” working together through the COVID crisis to provide resources and services to vulnerable city seniors and other residents.

“You helped a lot of people, people who may not be alive today,” Bushman said to Mylott. “In Fitchburg it is common to have great community leaders like you. Thank you.”

Byrne said Mylott did “so much to keep us on track” during the pandemic.

“She deserves every single bit of this award,” Byrne said.

Mylott’s father, former Fitchburg Mayor Dan Mylott, attended the festivities along with other family members, including her mother Kay Kenyon and her son Ryan Mylott.

“Thank you to my parents, son Ryan, and all my family, friends, and colleagues for all their ongoing support on my journey for the past 30 years,” she said.

Her father said he “couldn’t be prouder.”

“She has grown into quite a woman, and she works so hard,” he said.

Kushmerek presented Mylott with a citation from the House of Representatives and one from the city on behalf of Mayor Stephen DiNatale, who was unable to attend the awards ceremony.

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Christy Mylott, in red, listens to State Rep Michael Kushmerek at her cermony at the Fitchburg Housing Athority’s offices on Day Street where she was honored as the Commonwealth Heroine Class of 2021. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

“(These) unsung heroines awards focus on those people who don’t get accolades every day,” Kushmerek said. “You worked an entire lifetime towards helping people, and you always went the extra mile in all these jobs. I don’t know where we would be without you — we are a better city, a better commonwealth, because of you and your service.”

Zarella echoed those sentiments, saying the Mylott’s recognition is “richly deserved,” and Romero said she has “witnessed her dedication to our constituents.”

“The work you do is so important in our community,” Romero said. “I’m so glad to call you my friend.”

Mylott dedicated the last three decades of her career to health care and senior care and had the opportunity to use her knowledge of resources to work as a staff member in the state Senate before coming to FHA.

“I have always enjoyed working with seniors and making sure they have all the resources they need, and serving the public and seniors in my community,” she said. “I work towards improving quality of life, for folks who need resources or assistance and supports, and I have worked with many great people in senior care. We have wonderful senior centers, nursing homes, and more in our district to provide seniors care and resources.”

She joined the staff at FHA about a year and a half ago when Bushman recruited her, a week or two ahead of the pandemic shutdown.

“He asked me to come on for two to four weeks, saying ‘this is going to blow over,’” Mylott recalled.

Mylott jumped right in and helped to form a COVID team, organizing health care for seniors and other residents, quarantine and isolation when needed in COVID cases, and organizing multiple testing and vaccine clinics, all while working closely with the Board of Health.

“We established what we would need to get through some very scary times for tenants and staff,” she said. “We created plans and put them in place.”

The FHA COVID team includes Bushman, FHA Director of Finance Director Kim Hergert, FHA Administrative Assistant Yoko Ishii, who worked together with Mylott to come up with and implement protocols.

“I cannot thank Christy and Yoko for organizing and heading up the FHA’s COVID response as well as the rest of our brave and committed administrative and maintenance staff,” Bushman said.

Mylott said Ishii oversaw PPE ordering and worked on staff safety along with Hergert, and that she had a “COVID-19 hotline.”

“I carried a cellphone seven days a week, days and evenings, so tenants could call with questions and if and when they were in isolation or quarantine,” Mylott said.

Mylott said it was “a team effort with all FHA staff to get through the year, and then relief came with the  vaccine out.” She coordinated four successful onsite vaccine clinics at the two elderly high rise apartment buildings “with a great partnership from Fitchburg Board of Health Director Steve Curry and his staff,” and the FHA maintenance and office staff all pitched in with efforts too.

“We could not have done it without the Board of Health and the mayor. We worked together all the time,” she said, “They are absolutely amazing. I feel like Fitchburg was led with such great leadership. The BOH staff worked endlessly. I could not have done my job well without them. The pandemic affected all of us, and we all pulled together and did what we had to do.”