County Fare: Going the extra mile

Arolyn Garnell of Monterey, left, sets out on a 90-minute ride through the Berkshire hills alongside Heather Rich of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Kathleen Malumphy has a deep reservoir of motherly love. After raising three children, the Richmond widow of three grandchildren was compelled four years ago to nurture dozens of area youngsters at the Malumphy homestead.

Since 2014, the former KB Toys employee of 30 years has been a licensed foster parent with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, temporarily taking in boys and girls younger than 4.

"They are in the same bedrooms where our children went to sleep every night knowing they were loved and protected, without worry about strangers in and out at all hours or chaos surrounding them," she told The Eagle.

Malumphy says her grown children provide a "flood of support" for her and the foster children, with the grandchildren, Maddy, Abby and Carter, treating the little ones as part of the family.

"I think it's a great lesson in humanity to show them we don't need to be blood to look out for each other," she said. "We have celebrated each and every one as one of our own during holidays, celebrations, birthdays, everything and anything, so they are part of a big, wonderful family full of laughter and love."

DCF recently recognized Malumphy's motherly mission by naming her Foster Parent of the Year for 2018 in Berkshire County, one of 34 foster homes from across the commonwealth honored during a ceremony in Framingham.

Malumphy, whose husband died unexpectedly 20 years ago, was proud to share her experience with the other foster parents, but finds that more foster homes are needed.

"The opioid crisis has certainly added to an overloaded system, and there's just not enough homes to handle the numbers," she said. "It's important to be sure the homes are supported with whatever resources are needed in order to care for children going through such trauma."

Malumphy gets very attached to each foster child, making it hard for her to let go when the little ones are either adopted or return to a more stable home with their mother and/or father.

"I have been so lucky to stay in touch with many, many of the families who have some of our kids and they're all doing so well," she said. "It's all good news to help a child formerly in danger find a safe home here and then moving forward with a family who will give them a great life."

Going the extra mile

When respiratory therapist Lisa Azzarito Pepino RN, RRT, of Fairview Hospital's Cardiopulmonary Department learned of a patient's lifelong dream to ride in a motorcycle sidecar like in the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," she was determined to make it happen.

Reaching out to the membership of the Sisterhood of the Asphalt Ribbon, a Facebook group of 18,000 female motorcyclists, she connected with Heather Rich of Port St. Lucie, Fla., who was traveling up the East Coast on her motorcycle as part of a two-month ride to the four corners of the United States with her boyfriend, Phil Raymond.

Pepino and Rich arranged to make a stop at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington last Thursday to take patient Arolyn Garnell, of Monterey, for a 90-minute ride through the hills of the Berkshires.

A day after the ride, Garnell told the staff: "I haven't stopped smiling since yesterday."

'Age Friendly' Lanesborough

The town of Lanesborough is an "Age Friendly" community.

This month, the town adopted an Age-Friendly Municipal Resolution, which it submitted to Age Friendly Berkshires.

"We're delighted to have Lanesborough 'officially' join the Age Friendly Berkshires movement and congratulate them on the list of improvements that they've identified, to make Lanesborough more livable for all residents, but especially older adults," said Age Friendly Berkshires Coordinator Peg McDonough.

Age Friendly Berkshires is a coalition of activist residents, businesses, government and political leaders, nonprofit organizations and community groups across the county whose goal is to create a more livable region that allows all residents to be healthy, active, safe and connected throughout their lifetimes, in their homes and communities, according to the group's website.

Lanesborough's move to join initially came as a result of the Council on Aging's wish to create an intergenerational park that's welcoming for seniors, as well as younger children and families.

Ideas for the park include walking paths, planting trees for shaded areas for exercise, with nearby benches for rest, but also open-play spaces for kids, and gathering spots for family picnics and community groups.

Lanesborough's resolution goes further, identifying several other areas where age-friendly improvements might be made for improving public health and wellness, providing for safer streets, creating affordable and accessible housing and community buildings, and providing for a vibrant workforce.

Lanesborough is only the sixth community in the county to take the affirmative step of signing a municipal resolution. The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams and the towns of Adams, Cheshire and Sheffield also have joined the Age Friendly movement, with projects underway.

In the coming months, it is hoped that other communities will make a similar commitment to be "age-friendly in all things."

For information on the Age Friendly Berkshire Action Plan, or to download a municipal resolution template and community self-assessment checklists, visit the AFB website at

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.