More than 400 runners and walkers participated in the 5K Mission Hill Road Race on Oct. 5. The event raises money for the maintenance of the Kevin Fitzgerald Park. Ross Macandrew, 22, won the race in 16:28, 35 seconds ahead of runner-up Christopher Mentas. The first woman to finish the race, which starts and ends at Fitzgerald Park, was Lindsay Weigel in 20:10.
Rob Martin dashed through the hilly course in 21:45, winning the medal for first place in the over-40 division. Jim “Rabbit” Ryan lived up to his moniker, running the race in 26:03, first in the over-50 division.
“Big Jim” Moynihan was among the hundreds of spectators, applauding the runners. Big Jim was the original Mission Hill Road Race director in 1980 when he designed the course, which started and ended at McLaughlin Park.
Big Jim, a 1966 Mission High School graduate, was an elite long distance runner in his prime, completing eight Boston Marathons.
A fine job was done by 5-year-old Richie Curran, who dispensed medals to the runners as they crossed the finish line.
More than 200 folks gathered at Marina Bay on Sept. 28 in Quincy to celebrate the wedding of George Rollins and his lovely bride, Marion McCarthy. George and Marion grew up in Tobin Court in the Mission Hill projects, and they both attended Mission High School. George is a graduate of West Point and a retired lieutenant colonel who recently served in Afghanistan at the tender age of 61.
As an usher in the military-themed ceremony, I felt privileged to be surrounded by George’s West Point classmates and local veterans who help make this a great country.
The best man was Billy Rollins, a former Marine and George’s oldest brother. Paul Rollins, also a Marine, served in Vietnam and earned 39 air medals. Several of George’s Mission High classmates attended the wedding, including Peter Scott, who was an infantryman and radio operator in Vietnam. I enjoyed conversing with Tommy McCarthy, the bride’s brother and also a Mission High graduate. Tommy, a retired MBTA policeman, served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne and earned a bronze star. Tommy enlisted in the Army the day after his friend Franny Killilea was killed in Vietnam.
On the lighter side, as an usher it was cool walking down the aisle with the attractive Karen Doherty, although Karen later said, “Mossy is a good-looking guy, but he’s not too bright.” At dinner, which was prime rib, I was seated next to the best looking woman in the place, Tricia “Nana” Fitzgerald.
Getting back to best man Billy Rollins, I’m reminded of a famous Mission Hill story that occurred on Cape Cod in the summer of 1971 when Billy was a young Harwich policeman. Several Mission Hill guys rented a cottage a stone throw from the ocean in Harwich. One night, the Harwich police received a call for “a loud and out-of-control party.” Officer Rollins and his fellow officer arrived at the party, and Rollins’ partner delivered a stern warning to the Mission Hill carousers. Before getting back in the police car, Officer Rollins spotted a familiar face among the revelers. Officer Rollins then lapsed into his Mission Hill projects dialect, shouting at the group, “Your mother.”
For hockey fans, Merrimack College will be playing Northeastern University the evening of Sat., Nov. 23 at Matthews Arena. Merrimack features No. 13, Mike Collins, a rugged winger, who has Mission Hill lineage. Mike is the son of proud parents Mark Collins and Lynne Collins. Mike is a senior, whose talent attracted National Hockey League Scouts to observe him recently on his home ice at Lawler Arena in North Andover.
Mike is the grandson of John and Carol DeGiacomo. John DeGiacomo, better known as “Red the Roofer,” grew up in the Mission Hill projects and he is a member of the Mission Hill Post.
Recently, a bill was passed in Massachusetts increasing the gas tax by 3 cents per gallon and a subsequent increase every year beginning in 2015. This yearly and lifetime tax increase rises according to inflation.
Many Mission Hill residents, including myself, signed a petition to overturn the bill. The petition (70,000 signatures are needed to make it a ballot question) does not impact the current tax increase. It will stop the automatic annual increases.