BlogClient StoriesFeaturedFeatured NewsMeals on WheelsNewsVideosVolunteers

WCVB-TV 5 For Good: Ethos helps senior in winter

By February 24, 2017No Comments


BOSTON — A father-son team is helping their Boston neighbors in need weather the winter.

Immediately after a recent snowfall, Michael and Tommy O’Dea headed beyond their block in Roslindale to clear a path for Thomas Walsh.

The O’Deas met Walsh several years ago after they were connected by Ethos, a nonprofit organization devoted to keeping older and disabled residents safely in their own homes by setting up vital services.

“(We offer) things like Meals on Wheels or homemaking or home care aides — all of the different types of services someone might need,” community relations director Ray Santos said.

The Ethos program, dubbed “Snow Angels,” was started several years ago to raise awareness about the need for volunteer shovelers. Ethos originally paired those who were willing and able with those who could use a hand.

“Falls are the leading cause of death among adults 65 and older” Santos said.

Fear of falling can also lead to social isolation, being stuck inside and missing appointments.

“(It takes) a lot of worry out of it, absolutely. I was just coming off an injury, so the next thing I know, when it snowed, Michael — we call him Mick — he’d come down,” Walsh said.

O’Dea was inspired by a good deed decades ago to take on Walsh’s walk and several others.

“When we arrived here in ’96, the first day we got here it snowed, and when I came home from work, my next-door neighbor, who was 85 at the time, had shoveled the entire walk, right up to the door. I never forgot that,” O’Dea said.

“We can move a lot of snow in a pretty short time,” his son said.

O’Dea brushed off the gratitude.

“It’s nice. It’s not a big deal,” O’Dea said.

“He likes to help people, and it’s refreshing in this day and age,” Walsh said. “I for one am just grateful.” Ethos now uses social media to spread the word instead of pairing people. For fun, it often sends snow angel hats to volunteer shovelers who post pictures to Facebook or Twitter. Use the hashtag #EthosSnowAngels to join the effort.