Presss Release: Hopkinton Marathon Committee to Honor Veterans on Patriots’ Day at 121st Boston Marathon Start
HOPKINTON, MA (April 11, 2017)—In honor of Patriots’ Day, the Hopkinton Marathon Committee (HMC) honors local veterans at the start of the Boston Marathon each year. For 2017, the HMC will recognize Hopkinton residents Don Creswell, Kathleen O’Leary, and Fred Betz for their service before thousands of runners and spectators.
“The Boston Marathon has started on Patriots’ Day every year since it started in 1897. The Hopkinton Marathon Committee annually honors local veterans on the starters’ platform to recognize the holiday, as well as the veterans’ service to our country,” said Hopkinton Marathon Committee chairperson, Dorothy Ferriter-Wallace. “At the start of the 121st Boston Marathon this year, we are pleased to recognize veterans Don Creswell, Kathleen O’Leary, and Fred Betz for their service.”
Creswell grew up a mile down the road from the start and used to watch the marathon from “Lucky Rock” near his house. The lifelong Hopkinton resident served in the Navy from 1966 through 1970. After training in the Great Lakes for a year, he was stationed on different ships along the east coast. After his discharge, he worked for others for a few years before starting his own construction company. With the help of others, he built the previous veterans memorial gazebo on the Hopkinton Common. He volunteered for many years as the chief of Hopkinton’s Auxiliary Police and has volunteered at more than 30 Boston Marathons.
Kathleen O’Leary also served in the Navy. In her final year at the Boston College School of Nursing, she accepted the Navy’s offer to pay for her final year of schooling in exchange for serving two years in the Navy on active duty and ended up staying for six years, from 1963 to 1969. A Lieutenant in the United States Navy Nurse Corps, she was stationed at the
Naval Hospital in San Diego, and then at the Naval Support Activity Station Hospital in DaNang, Vietnam, taking care of the Marines. The Marines have no medical personnel. She worked twelve hour shifts seven days per week much of the time. There was frequent shelling of the area, especially during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The hospital was comprised of many Quonset hut buildings which consisted of three foot concrete walls covered with a metal roof. It eventually turned into a 1,000 bed facility. After Vietnam, O’Leary served in Boston as the Navy Nurse Recruiter for New England before her discharge to move to Hanover, New Hampshire, where her husband attended graduate school. The couple raised three girls and have six grandchildren. They have lived in Hopkinton for 21 years.
Betz, born in Chicago and raised in Indiana, enlisted in the Air Force in 1964, rising to the rank of Captain in just three years. He moved twelve times within seven years, staying in Germany for three years, and Omaha for two, working as an OSI, Officer of Special Investigations. He spent almost seven years in the Air Force, then two more in the Reserves. He and his late wife both worked at the Christian Science Church in Boston, and watched the Boston Marathon from many locations, hosted a runner, and became unofficial volunteers one year many years ago when they helped to catch some collapsing runners at the finish.
The Hopkinton Marathon Committee was established in 1979 to work in conjunction with the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), the organizers of the Boston Marathon, to ensure that the annual running of the race is an exciting, successful and safe event for all concerned. Committee members contribute their efforts throughout the entire year to the planning, organization, and coordination of multiple facets of the race, working to protect the best interests and welfare of the town, its residents, businesses and visitors.
Contact: Jean Cann, Hopkinton Marathon Committee