SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

August 30, 2013

Wenham's new COA leader a longtime resident

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — WENHAM — The town has a new Council on Aging coordinator, and a search committee didn’t have to look too far to find him — he grew up here.

Jim Reynolds was hired by Town Administrator Mark Andrews last month after receiving unanimous support from a search committee. He’s lived in town most of his life — 50 years, he said.

Earlier this week, Reynolds was greeted by many seniors during an ice cream social at the Senior Center on School Street.

“I just want to draw together the community and develop programs that people want,” said Reynolds, 59. “There has been a lot of transition here.”

The Council on Aging is reaching out to seniors in the community both by visiting homes and making phone calls, Reynolds said.

“If we have to knock on doors, we will,” he said.

Reynolds, who works 32.5 hours a week for the town, also wants to collaborate with other town departments — police, fire, library and schools — and community groups like the Hamilton-Wenham Community House, religious organizations and area colleges.

For the past four years, Reynolds operated his own business, working with seniors to help them live independently. Before that, he worked for EBSCO in content and product development for 10 years, and in interior horticultural sales and service for 11 years.

He is currently taking part in an online master’s degree program at UMass Boston on gerontology and management of aging services.

“This is my third career,” he said. “I decided when I left EBSCO that I wanted to do something different. I really wanted to serve an underserved market.”

Lucy Frederiksen, chairwoman of the Council on Aging, said the search committee was impressed with Reynolds’ work with seniors in the area.

“Jim was the unanimous first choice,” she said. “He said this was his dream job. He has a lot of things going for him.”

Reynolds said he has met with area Council on Aging directors in Ipswich, Manchester, Beverly and Hamilton. Through his classes at UMass, he’s talked to the directors in Newton and Lincoln.

Hamilton and Wenham have been sharing senior services for the past year on a trial basis to see if the towns could merge the services permanently. The two towns decided to provide their own programs.

At the ice cream social, many thanked Reynolds for the job he’s done in getting started in his new position.

“I am happy he is here and getting to know everyone,” Frederiksen said.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.