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Donelan, Merrigan, Sullivan win state recognition

Opioid Task Force co-founder John Merrigan responds during the task force’s fourth and final community forum in an emotional night at GCC.

GREENFIELD – The state has named the three co-chairmen of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region as the recipients of the 2018 Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Sheriff Christopher J. Donelan, Register of Probate John F. Merrigan, and Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan are collectively one of nine winners of the award that acknowledges those who play a major role in the successful delivery of quality services to Massachusetts citizens. They are slated to recognized by Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito in a ceremony at the Statehouse on Dec. 7.

Sullivan said this award serves as recognition as the roughly 500 people who take part in the task force.

“It’s good to keep the opioid crisis on the front burner and if people see this award … they’re going to keep focusing on it,” he told The Recorder. “I’m just looking forward to the task force doing bigger and better things in the future.”

In a statement, Donelan said those involved with the task force have a passion for their work and he is grateful for the state’s support in tackling the opioid crisis.

Merrigan said it is an honor to be recognized.

“We’ve been joined at the hip since day one and it’s been a privilege to work alongside the Sheriff and the Northwestern District Attorney to fight this epidemic,” he said in a statement.

The task force was started in September 2013.

According to the state, Manuel Carballo was a former Massachusetts Secretary of Human Services who died of bacterial meningitis at 42 on Jan. 27, 1984. His New York Times can be found at

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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