In 2009, Maine attorney Arthur A. Cerullo met with the Board of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic to help them through a difficult financial and organizational transition. As a volunteer representative of the national board of the American Lung Association (ALA), he had been assigned to oversee their restructuring. Despite their cordial reception, he warned them that he was the fox in the henhouse, there to monitor their actions as well to advocate for them at the national level. It was the beginning of a three-year partnership between Cerullo and the staff and board of the Lung Association that represents New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Today, the group is solvent and one of the most successful of 13 regional arms of the American Lung Association.
In early December, Cerullo received a package from ALA of the Mid-Atlantic. Inside was a glass case holding a red boxing glove, signed by the CEO and all the Board members. The boxing glove symbolizes the Lung Association’s commitment to “fight for clean air.” With the award was a note from CEO Deb Brown: “Your guidance has helped push the Mid-Atlantic in the right direction. Each year we grow stronger. Personally, I cannot thank you enough for serving as an advocate for our Association, especially when many were willing to just give up on us. I will be forever grateful.”
An avid cyclist, Cerullo became involved with the Lung Association Board after participating in its annual fundraiser, the Trek Across Maine, an event that raises over $1 million annually for the regional American Lung Association. He served as President of the Maine chapter from 2001-2003, the first “Trekker” to become President. He continued to ride the Trek for 23 years. In 2010, as Speaker of the National Assembly of the American Lung Association, he rode three ALA bike treks over three weekends: the inaugural “Cycle the Seacoast” in Portsmouth, NH, the two-day 25th Anniversary “Clean Air Challenge” in Alaska, and the 20th annual “Reach the Beach” ride in Portland, Oregon.
Arthur Cerullo is a senior partner at Drummond & Drummond, LLP, in Portland, Maine, which itself has been involved in the fight for clean air for nearly 100 years. In 1918, Drummond & Drummond incorporated the American Lung Association as the National Tuberculosis Association. Back then, the greatest threat to health was a little known disease that was commonly called consumption, medically known as tuberculosis. Now, as then, many people in Maine suffer form lung disease, caused not only by smoking but by smog from smokestacks as far away as Ohio, by car exhaust, and by poor indoor air quality. After 25 years, Cerullo continues to volunteer for the American Lung Association, driven by another ALA slogan, “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”