NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 24, 2012

Amesbury Schools rally to honor longtime supporter Brad Ford

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — The Amesbury Educational Foundation, Inc. will be holding a special Hall of Honor induction ceremony early next month to honor longtime school supporter Bradley Ford, who is battling cancer and might not be healthy enough to accept the honor at the event’s regularly scheduled time in May.

Ford, an AEFI Friend of Education, has been involved in the Amesbury school system for many years. During that time, he has served in a variety of roles, among them the lead man on the high school and middle school building projects, a truant officer, and most recently the high school’s director of facilities and transportation.

Typically AEFI will induct three people — one Friend of Education, one alumnus and one teacher — into the Hall of Honor annually in May, but the decision was made to induct Ford early due to his deteriorating health.

Ford has been battling esophageal cancer, and in recent weeks his condition has taken a turn for the worse. Last week he tendered his resignation from the school system as facilities manager, and AEFI officials were worried that he may not be able to accept his award if they waited until May.

“We want to honor Brad, and this is a great time to be able to do that,” said Superintendent Michele Robinson.

The induction ceremony will be held at the Amesbury High School auditorium on Monday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception at the Amesbury Sports Park where cocktails and hors d’ouevres will be served.

Ford was originally supposed to be inducted into the Hall of Honor last May, but was unable to attend because the ceremony coincided with his son’s wedding day.

School officials were effusive in their praise for Ford, who they said was a bright and knowledgeable man who could always be counted on.

“I’ve had the good fortune of Brad being one of the first people I met when I started working here,” Robinson said. “He’s so knowledgeable, we always have that feeling when Brad is here that everything is going to be OK.”

“He’s a can-do type of guy who gets things done,” said Mayor Thatcher Kezer. “He comes up with really creative ways to get things done better than what people expected.”

AEFI Executive Board member Cathy Toomey echoed those sentiments, saying that Ford has remained remarkably positive despite his illness and all the adversity he is facing.

“He’s an amazing guy, one of the people that everyone loves,” Toomey said. “He has been going through the process always upbeat, always with a smile on his face.”

The induction ceremony is free and open to the public, and tickets can be purchased for the reception for $25 at the superintendent’s office or online at www.aefionline.com. Tickets are limited and must be purchased by Nov. 30.