Featured Hero: Stephen Passacantilli - Boston Marathon Runner/ Assistant to District 1 Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina
Vigil at the statue of Paul Revere
Sometimes an ordinary community experiences extraordinary circumstances
and the term hero stretches beyond a uniform.
Stephen Passacantilli is an athletic man, but isn’t your typical marathon runner. He doesn’t train professionally or participate for prize money. Stephen, a community activist who works at Boston’s City Hall alongside Mayor Menino and District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina, was presented the opportunity to run with co-workers. After some hemming and hawing over whether to do the grueling 26.2 miles, he said yes.
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As the marathon ensued, Stephen kept at a pace he was comfortable with beside his best friend. At around Fenway Park, about a half mile away from completing the race (and now jogging alone as his buddy had gained speed), he heard a loud blast. Police officers nearby talked rapidly into radios as he moved passed until suddenly they blocked the route, bringing the runners to a halt. “Everyone stopped in their tracks, wondering what was going on and if it was related to the loud noises we heard.” When Stephen caught wind that bombs went off at the finish, he panicked, “Not only was my friend ahead of me, but my wife, father, and five-year old daughter were in the grandstands waiting to watch me cross the finish line.” Luckily his family members were unharmed, as his wife immediately answered her cell phone when he called. As for Stephen's running partner, it took two daunting hours to find out that he was okay.
I asked Stephen if his first marathon experience marked his last, to which he replied,
“Definitely not. I’m trying to get permission to run in the [upcoming] New York City Marathon for one of the runners who intended to, but lost their leg. I’d like to do it in their honor.”
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino created The One Fund to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013. In just eleven days, over twenty-three million dollars has been raised. Stephen’s office reports that all victims will receive assistance (about 280 injured; 3 perished.) With that goal in mind, monetary contributions are still being collected. If you would like to donate, it’s not too late.