Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Reflections on the 118th Running of the Boston Marathon

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

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Around this time last week Gerald “Curly” Carey of South Dennis, was in the midst of running his 14th Boston Marathon since 1999 when he first participated in the historic race to honor his mother who had died two years earlier.

How did this year compare to the others he has run? “This one was no doubt the grand daddy of them all, even ahead of the first one I ran for my mother,” he said.

And when he crossed the finish line, just under five hours and 30 minutes, he knelt down and kissed the ground before greeting his wife Kelly. “To be honest it was very emotional. That is the one word I have to use,” he said. “Running up and taking a left on Boylston Street and having thousands and thousands of people cheering you on it felt like this was my Super Bowl.

“Even though I didn’t win the race I was part of one of the biggest days in the history of Boston sports,” he continued.

Last year Carey was one of the more than 5,000 runners unable to finish the race after two bombs went off near the finish line, killing three spectators and injuring 260 people.

This year there was no such tragedy though for Carey there were several difficult moments that included running past Engine Company 33 and Ladder Company 15 on Boylston Street, the station that lost Lieutenant Edward Walsh Jr., 43, and firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, while battling a blaze in a Beacon Street apartment building in March.

Earlier in the race Carey passed Mr. Kennedy’s longtime girlfriend Sarah Wessman, who had been planning to run the marathon with her boyfriend. She was wearing two bibs – one for her and one for Mr. Kennedy. “I talked to her briefly in Wellesley,” Carey said. “That was one of the most emotional parts of the day outside of the finish line.”

For Carey the race was a way to accomplish what he could not last year – finish the grueling 26.2 mile course – while raising funds for the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council’s (DYECH) Project Prevention program.

HAC oversees the program which assists Cape Cod residents struggling with their bills, ensuring they will not find themselves without a home. As of last week he had raised close to $4,000, adding to the roughly $50,000 he has raised for Project Prevention since 2001.

The money raised is the capstone for what he termed “a great day… It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.” 

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Tags: Project Prevention, HAC, Curly Carey, Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Takes on Special Meaning for Cape Resident

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 @ 02:39 PM

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Since 1999 Gerald “Curly” Carey has run 27 marathons, but there was only one he did not finish – last year’s Boston Marathon.

The marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt for the suspects were well documented in the news, capturing the nation’s attention in the days and weeks that followed. And for many runners, like South Dennis’ Carey, it represented a difficult time. “I would say the first week afterward was very emotional watching TV and knowing that five years prior I would have been coming in at the time the bombs went off,” he said. “It was very emotional and it still is.”

He anticipated this year’s Boston Marathon – his 14th time running it – will carry similar weight. “It will be an emotional race for me, especially the last mile and a half because I didn’t get to finish last year,” he said.

Instead, like the thousands of other race participants who had not yet crossed the finish line, Carey found himself searching for loved ones – his wife Kelly was planning on watching him finish – as helicopters flew overhead and the sounds of fire and police sirens could be heard racing towards the crime scene.

He estimates he has helped raise close to $50,000 for the Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council’s (DYECH) Project Prevention since 2001 when he was inspired to somehow give back in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A conversation with David Akin, a deacon at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth and a member of DYECH, convinced him to focus his efforts locally. “He told me we have a big problem on Cape Cod,” he said, in reference to the region’s homeless population.

Though he has run dozens of other races, Carey holds a special place in his heart for the Boston event, listing a litany of reasons from its history to its stature as a worldwide event to the difficulty of the course itself. The race also serves as a fundraiser to a cause important to Carey: fighting homelessness on Cape Cod.

Carey’s money has gone towards Project Prevention which HAC oversees and which ensures Cape Codders struggling with their bills will never find themselves on the street. “Last year I was able to raise $2,044 and through that effort at least three families were able to stay in their homes and avoid being homeless,” Carey wrote in his fundraising letter for this year’s marathon.

He expressed pleasure in being in a position to help those who are less fortunate. “When I find out where the money is going and that it keeps people in their homes it makes me proud,” he said.

Along with running marathons, Carey serves monthly meals to the homeless as a member of the Yarmouth Rotary, an experience he has found rewarding. “I have a beautiful house in South Dennis. I have a good life,” he said. “One of the things my parents taught me is you have to give back. That is what keeps me going.”

It was his mother Mary, who passed away in 1997, who he dedicated his first Boston Marathon to in 1999. To this day the 57-year-old Carey honors her spirit every time he runs the historic race which will take on special meaning this month because of the lives that were lost and those that were injured last year. “If I had to run it on crutches I would do it,” he said. “It really means a lot to me.”

Help Curly reach his goal! Send a tax-deductible donation to "Run to Prevent Homelessness," c/o Dennis-Yarmouth Ecumenical Council, P.O. BOX 507, Yarmouthport, MA 02675

Tags: DYECH, Project Prevention, Athletics, Curly Carey, Boston Marathon, David Akin