Elders and their caregivers had a dedicated advocate in geriatric nurse practitioner Ora M. DeJesus (1927-2000). Ora was a compassionate clinician, skilled nursing facility manager, university professor, and first executive director of The Gerontology Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD).
A dedicated activist who advocated for New Bedford’s neighborhoods, Loretta Bourque (1920-2018) was referred to as “Mayor of the South End” for her special commitment to this section of the city. Through the Cove Street Neighborhood Association, Loretta led efforts against such problems as negligent absentee landlords, crime and drugs. Loretta’s influence was a key factor that led the New Bedford City Council to pass the city’s Problem Properties Ordinance.