Monteforte March 2019

March 2019 In Memory of Smiley Seth and Uncle Ray This Summer, Support a Local Organization I’m Helping (978) 657-7437 Practical wisdom, trusted advice.

N othing can prepare you for loss. Being apart from those whomean the most to you is heart-wrenching, whether it’s a child you only got to hold for a fewmonths or the soldier you love from afar, wondering if or when you will ever see them again. Years ago a friend of mine began“Let’s Bring ‘EmHome”to raise money to fly soldiers home for the holidays in an effort tomake the loss and separation of their tours of duty easier. As my friend was just getting this organization started, he—as is the case for many new organizations —struggled to secure enough financial backing to keep it running. To help propel his mission forward, I offeredmy services, at no charge, to help Let’s Bring‘EmHome become a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charity. This designation helps organizations looking to do good in our communities put more of the money they collect toward their beneficiaries. This began a new tradition for me. Every year now, I choose an organization for which I do this same work, free of charge. I’ve helped establish a variety of charities, each one vital to those they serve. Becoming a small piece of this philanthropy is a touching reminder for me, but the organization I’ve selected this year hits my family—andmany others—close to home. In the summer of 2016, Seth was born to proud parents Steve and Sarah. He instantly became his older sister Sadie’s best friend, and his infectious smile and big, blue eyes lit up every room as he greeted those around himwith his“chicken wing wave.”Seth shone in the comfort of loving arms and enjoyed being toted from room to room. He was loved tremendously, and he gave love back so easily. But Seth only got 14 months with his adoring family. In late summer of 2017 he passed away, held in the arms of the mother with

reality of death, but their response was touching and insightful. As a family, we became actively involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Both of my children actively fundraised for the cause. My daughter has even donated her hair to create wigs for cancer patients, sold candy bars for the society, and given a speech about her uncle in front of hundreds of people. It was one of my proudest moments as a dad. Seth’s family isn’t giving up in the fight against cancer, either. The Smiley Seth Foundation will be hosting a fundraiser Saturday, March 2, from 1–5 p.m. at the Tewksbury Elks Club, benefiting cancer research, purchasing toys for children’s hospitals, and helping families of those undergoing treatment. The event will feature family-friendly activities, including coloring games, a 50/50 raffle, prizes, a face painter, and a silent auction. The cost is $20 per ticket prior to the event or $50 for families. If the event isn’t sold out, tickets will be $25 at the door. Learnmore about Seth’s journey online at

whomhe shared somuch love, succumbing to complications frombrain cancer. Seth had been the star of the hospital wing where he underwent many rounds of surgery and cancer treatment, having even spent his first birthday there—and all with his famous smile. Seth’s family decided to turn their grief into good by startingThe Smiley Seth Foundation, which benefits cancer research, purchases toys for children’s hospitals, and helps families of those going through treatment. When a client reached out tome suggesting I look into this foundation for my yearly mission of creating a recognized IRS 501(c)(3) charity, my heart melted. There was no way I could say no. It would be a nightmare situation for any parent, and unfortunately for many families, all too familiar. Cancer has even rockedmy own big, crazy, (mostly) Italian family. My uncle Ray was 55 when he passed away from lymphoma. The disease killed him very quickly, and for my children, who were aged 7 and 8 at the time, the news that their goofy, admirable great uncle had passed was deeply painful. Uncle Ray was their first close interaction with the

-Michael Monteforte Jr. | 1

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Determined to find out who was to blame, police put up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.

Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans groups and locals were outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags, one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself. Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers. Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just can’t comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,”Wallace said. When retirement approaches, you may be thinking about the freedom you’ll enjoy after putting in your last nine-to-five. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and a cause for celebration! Before you get to celebrate, though, it’s important to consider what kind of support you might need down the road. With our generation living longer than our parents, there’s a possibility that we may require additional support services. You and your spouse may not know if either of you will need in-home care, but considering this possibility and the financial factors that come with it can help you better enjoy this exciting phase of your life. In most cases, neither Medicare or Medicaid covers in-home care. There are some exceptions, like home- and community-based services that are state and locally funded and cover those who qualify through Medicaid. If you or your spouse are veterans and meet the requirements, you may be eligible for aid and attendance benefits. These benefits are paid for by the VA in addition to a veteran’s monthly pension. It may cover the costs of in-home care for veterans who require the aid of another person or are housebound. Visit Benefits. to learn more. Still, you may not want to rely on qualifying for one of these services. Consider adapting your estate plan to include designated in-home care. Meet with your attorney to review your living trust and see if it addresses a caregiver.

Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract groundhogs, something other groundskeepers have experienced as well.

“I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner.

Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.

Creating a Home Care Plan


Talk to your family members and loved ones about the possibility that you or your spouse may need this service. While a family member may offer to step into that role, consider how easily they will be able to carry it out. Even a part-time caregiver could provide you with support and make your family members feel like they are not doing it alone. Planning for the possibility that you may need in-home care services can help make your retirement even more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have a close helping hand can ease your family’s worries and even strengthen your bond.

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3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day

On March 8, people around the world will honor International Women’s Day. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the holiday is meant to highlight the immeasurable accomplishments of women throughout history and draw attention to the ongoing struggle for global gender equality. International Women’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. Some nations, like Nepal, give all their citizens the day off. Most countries, however, including the United States, treat it as a normal day, at least officially. Even though we don’t have the day off, there are many ways for everyone to honor International Women’s Day this year. Here are a few of them. From major innovators, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to megalithic literary icons, like Maya Angelou, women throughout history have shaped how we live our lives. Whether you’re inspired by famous historical figures or the women in your own life, take the time to talk about that influence. Which women helped get you where you are today? What female leaders do you look up to? What are some lessons you’ve learned from them? Many of the challenges women face globally happen in the workplace. If you think your company has room for improvement in its treatment of women, now is a great time to do something about it. Even if you believe your company treats women and men equally, there’s no harm in empowering your colleagues to talk to give their opinions. If you’re an employer, this could mean giving women in your workplace an avenue to discuss issues, air grievances, and make suggestions. If you’re an employee, consider asking for such a forum. In either case, providing both public and anonymous avenues for women to express themselves is a great way for your company to take a step forward in fostering gender equality. TALK ABOUT THE WOMENWHO INSPIRE YOU MAKE ROOM FOR CONVERSATION IN THE WORKPLACE Regardless of your gender, March 8 is the perfect time to tune in to the larger conversation surrounding gender inequality, if you haven’t already. This could mean attending meetings or demonstrations in your town, reading works that capture the female struggle for equality, such as Roxane Gay’s“Difficult Women,”or seeking out blogs and social media accounts from gender equality activists online. International Women’s Day is about appreciating the contributions of women to society and envisioning a more equal world for the future. However, you decide to celebrate women this March, keep in mind that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the power to change our world for the better. JOIN THE CONVERSATION


This hearty soup is the perfect meal for those late winter days when you think spring will never come. It can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock.


• 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil • Salt and pepper, to taste

• 12 ounces asparagus • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped • 2 cups chicken stock


1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. 3. Transfer asparagus to blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. 4. Season to taste and serve.

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(978) 657-7437 5 Middlesex Ave., Ste 15A Wilmington, MA 01887 INSIDE THIS ISSUE   

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Support The Seth Smiley Foundation

The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags Considering the Costs of Home Care Asparagus and Avacado Soup 3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day


Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Home Assistant

Get the Most Out of Your Digital Home Assistant

you’re set. You can communicate in any room where another device is present.

What you can do, however, is make use of what you already have. Here are some ways to put your digital assistants to work without committing to a connected home. Both the Echo and the Home make excellent communication hubs. In the home, they can be used as a local intercom system. Do you have a few Echo Dots or Google Home Minis? If you do,

More and more people are welcoming in the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into their spaces. Everyone knows they make great Bluetooth speakers and can tell you the weather forecast, but they’re also capable of so much more. Digital assistants can do a variety of tasks depending on how much you want them to do for you. For example, if you want your digital assistant to be heavily involved in your daily life, you can use the Echo or the Home as the core of your “connected home.”You can connect numerous compatible devices to these assistants, including other Bluetooth or networked speakers, lights, thermostats, coffee makers, refrigerators, and even microwaves. Of course, therein lies the challenge — you must have compatible devices to make a connected home efficient. And let’s be honest: Many of us aren’t going to buy a connected fridge or Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs just to get the most out of our digital assistants.

Your digital assistant can also make outgoing calls. As long as the device has access to your contacts (or the person you’re trying to contact has an Echo or Home), you can easily make the connection. Want to send a text message? No problem! You can dictate a text to anyone in your smartphone’s contact list and send it without ever touching your phone. Aside from communications, the assistants can handle calendars, appointments, emails, and more. You can ask for information relevant to you, like “When is my flight again?” Google Home can recognize your voice, or the voice of anyone in the house, and respond accordingly. There’s no worry that anyone’s calendar or appointments will be mixed up with yours. If you want to learn more, search for tutorials online. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to what these digital assistants can do for you.

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