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Burlington couple honored for opening family to needy children

John and Carol Casey (center) of Burlington were honored in Washington, D.C., for their commitment to foster care and adoption. They are shown with their children (from left) Cheryl Casey Banks, Jaci Casey, Michael Casey, and Jennifer Casey Vitarisi.

John and Carol Casey (center) of Burlington were honored in Washington, D.C., for their commitment to foster care and adoption. They are shown with their children (from left) Cheryl Casey Banks, Jaci Casey, Michael Casey, and Jennifer Casey Vitarisi.

ADOPTION ANGELS: In 1981, when Carol and John Casey’s daughters were in elementary school, the Burlington couple decided to open their home to foster children.

“We thought our family was complete, but this adorable 18-month-old girl stole our hearts,” Carol said of their daughter, Jaci Casey, whom they eventually adopted.

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Several years later, they adopted their son, Michael Casey, after he was placed in their home as an infant.

Over the years the couple continued to help kids in need, taking in more than a dozen foster children for short and long stays.

The Caseys were recently honored in Washington, D.C., for their commitment to foster care and adoption.

They were selected as Angels in Adoption awardees by US Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, after being nominated by Jaci.

The Caseys were among 140 people honored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute at an awards ceremony and gala.

After becoming a foster parent, Carol decided to dedicate her professional life to the foster care system. She began working for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children 13 years ago.

She works as director of the agency’s Kid’s Net Program in the state’s northeast region, providing support to more than a thousand foster parents every year.

“It gives me great pleasure to help foster families. Kid’s Net supports them in so many ways, from training to help them through the challenges of foster parenting to providing the opportunity for them to spend the day together at a family event they otherwise might not have been able to attend. The families really benefit from it,” she said. “I am honored to work with so many remarkable foster parents every day. They are all angels.”

Like her mother, Jaci has a passion for adoption and foster care. While at Boston College, from which she recently graduated, she was one of 15 students from across the nation selected to intern at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Visit www.mspcc.org.

FIGHTING PREJUDICE: Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett was recently honored with the North Shore Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League New England .

Carole Cohen, senior vice president of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, was also honored as the recipient of the 2013 Rudolph Volunteer Award, named after Marblehead resident Jim Rudolph.

“Community support is critical to ADL’s mission of securing justice and fair treatment for all,” said Robert Trestan, the league’s regional director. “District Attorney Blodgett’s entire career has been dedicated to this same mission, as evidenced by his efforts to promote Internet safety for children and bullying prevention education programs in schools.

“We are proud to partner with the district attorney and Carole Cohen, who have selflessly given their time and energy both to the league, and to the betterment of the community,” he said.

“For the last 10 years, I have had the honor to serve in the only position in elective government that I have ever wanted,” Blodgett said. “Being the district attorney gives me the opportunity to work with communities and organizations, such as the ADL, to promote a better understanding of the law and hopefully encourage people to make good decisions.”

Visit newengland.adl.org .

Moira James.

Carl Gasowski

Moira James.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: John A. LeBlanc has joined the Institution for Savings in Newburyport as vice president of loan operations. He manages and directs the servicing of the bank’s residential and consumer loan portfolio. LeBlanc, of Hampton, N.H., previously worked at St. Mary’s Credit Union in Marlborough. . . . Moira McNamara James of Marblehead is the new chairwoman of the board of trustees of Landmark School in Beverly. She follows Nicholas Lopardo of Boxford, who served 19 years. A former senior producer of news for a Boston television station, James is a freelance video producer. Much of her volunteerism has been dedicated to board governance in academia. She is a founding member of the National Brain Tumor Society , as well as a fund-raiser for cancer research. She has completed the Pan Mass Challenge 17 times, raising more than $80,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute .

Items can be sent to wdkilleen@gmail.com

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