Honoring the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat team
Cheered on and supported by dozens of National Grid volunteers and their families, a team of nearly 20 National Grid employees suited up with heavy backpacks to walk 26.2 miles in Concord two days before the Boston Marathon.
Attached to each backpack were colorful ribbons: each a sobering reminder of fallen servicemen and women and police, fire, and EMS personnel who have lost their lives.
Collectively, the 2018 Tough Ruck brought together nearly 1,000 civilians and veterans on Saturday, April 14 to honor these brave men and women’s ultimate sacrifice. The more than 60-member team of National Grid walkers and volunteers gave up their day for those who gave all. The team specifically honored the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat team, of which several employees are veterans.
“This is my very small way of trying to give back to these men and women to let them know their sacrifices are appreciated and will not be forgotten,” said Steve Meighan Jr., manager for gas contractor oversight in Boston. A Cold War era vet, Meighan led the volunteers, rallying them outside the company’s Mobile Emergency Operations Center, which sat as a resource near the race start and finish line for all walkers.
“When I look back at the way the Vietnam Era troops were treated and the fact that there are very few people my own age who served, I decided to do all I can to make sure the current men and women fighting the Global War on Terror are not forgotten,” Meighan said.
The Tough Ruck kicked off with a recognition dinner the night before, attended by team members and National Grid Rhode Island President Tim Horan, executive sponsor of the company’s Veteran Employee Resource Group (VERG). Horan also cheered on walkers at the race finish line.
Marcy Reed, Massachusetts president, manned a station with colleagues through the duration of the race, offering snacks and drinks to walkers as they passed by.
David Gavula, John Hanlon, Robert Colliton (all part of the 173rd)
Jacob Bogs, Mark Harris, Michael Alger, Jeffrey Runey, Eddy Rice (veterans)
Phil Demelo, Amy Drogalis, Corey Hogg, Crystal Mayo, Sean McLaughlin, William Murphy, Carlos Silva, Neil Proudman, and Thomas Gavula (retiree who came in first in his division)
Volunteers (not including employee family members) included:
Chuck Charlesworth, Mike Lightman, Bob O’Cull (part of the 173rd)
Steve Meighan, Dave O’Reilly, Kevin Shaughnessy, Jon Maclean, Lauren Maclean (veterans)
Jessica Adams, Jacques Afonso, John Barkas, Arya Biswas, Matt Carmody, Terry Cavicchi, Bob Evans, Mike Floyd, Dan Fowkes, Mike Gallagher, Artie Georgacopolous, Faith Hassell, Heather Hennessey, Lae Hunt, Andrew Joseph, Lisa King, Keith LaRose, Lizette Lofton, Dave Madden, Tim Meighan, Tara Morris, John O’Connell, Mary Beth Poirier, Alex Raveau, Marcy Reed, Chanthy Seth, Irina Shotov, Erica Svitil, Danielle Williamson, May Zhen