LYNN — The legacy of Kelly J. Martin will live on after Bridgewell renamed its Boston Street Center in her honor.
In August, Martin, Bridgewell’s former CEO, died peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones, according to her obituary. The non-profit organization, which she dedicated her life to for 35 years, held a dedication ceremony and unveiled “The Kelly J. Martin Center” sign in Lynn on Thursday.
“It’s an important day for all of us here and it’s an important day for Bridgewell,” said interim CEO Chris Tuttle. “We are gathered here to honor Kelly, who was special to all of us.”
The renaming of the center is the first time the organization has ever done something so grand in honor of someone, according to Jim Cowdell, executive director of Economic Development & Industrial Corporation. He met Martin in 1993 while they were both working for Bridgewell and considered her one of his best friends.
“I absolutely loved her,” said Cowdell.
During Tuttle’s dedication speech, he said Martin’s work was meaningful to everyone at Bridgewell. She had the ability to move forward the agenda of each individual seeking services and continuously worked toward making people’s lives better, he said.
“Kelly’s DNA is woven into the fabric of Bridgewell,” said Tuttle.
He also thanked Martin’s family — her three daughters Alissa, Kayla, and Paige Johnson, her husband Sean Martin, and her stepson Colin Martin — for sharing her with Bridgewell throughout the years, which allowed her to leave such an important mark on the organization.
“In a way, she shared her work with us, integrating so many of the individuals into our lives, even having a few of them over for the holidays in past years,” said Alissa Johnson. “Bridgewell is so much a part of our lives that it was just normal for us.”
Tuttle was hired by Martin at the beginning of the year as Bridgewell’s chief operating officer. He was the last person she hired and he will always cherish that, he said. While there were many ways the organization wanted to commemorate Martin, they thought dedicating the Lynn building in her honor was the best way to do it.
“We thought it was a great idea,” said Alissa Johnson. “She had a lot of pride for this building. It’s nice to see something good come out of something bad.”