Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rest in Peace, Mom

My mom, Marie Cook, passed away this morning, August 11, around 9 a.m., peacefully in her sleep. She was a fighter to the end, but we got some quality time with her in her final weeks.

As most of you know, I lug my camera around with me everywhere, taking pictures and documenting everything left and right. Below you'll see some shots of mom with her kids, sister and grandkids, proudly beaming in recent years as she attended each of their graduations, weddings, road races, and various other ceremonies.

Thanks to everyone for the support.

Hope we all made you proud, mom.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Day at the Park

So yesterday, I was proud to join with my friends on the NEMLEC Police Foundation (that's the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council for the uninformed) to welcome an honorary member to our board. Who would that be? This fellow:That's right, Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis joined our team yesterday, ready to play whatever position he's asked, just like his Red Sox credentials! The NEMLEC Foundation used a portion of the proceeds from our charity golf tournament this year and dedicated them to a new program Youk created as part of his Youk's Kids charity, known as Athletes for Heroes. Teaming with other Boston sports celebs, Youk is dedicating money to help the children of law enforcement or military personnel killed in the line of duty. You can find out more about it at

On the infield at Fenway Park, here's the formidable lineup for our NEMLEC foundation, which raises money to support training programs for police in 53 cities and towns. I serve as a representative of Middlesex Community College, which runs numerous training programs for law enforcement personnel and first responders.The Foundation with our newest memberAnd what would a trip to Fenway be without a visit with Heidi Watney?Ready to step in for Tito Francona should he become unavailableOr, if need be, to cover the game from the press boxWatching batting practice from down on the field was a blastYooouuuukkkkkk!Youk, with Pedroia and Ellsbury, waiting to take some swingsHanging at home plateAnd finally, the venerable landmark itself, as seen from home plateBy the way, the Sox won the game. And Youkilis? He did like I asked him, and hit a homerun for us, although he didn't point first with his bat to show everyone where he was going to hit it. So not quite Babe Ruth level legend, but it was cool anyways and it's a legend that will live on at least in our minds.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Run on the Fourth of July

To celebrate our nation's birthday (as well as Mike Cassidy and Martha McGuane's), a bunch of us took foot in the John Carson Fourth of July parade in Chelmsford this a.m. The race, which is turning into quite the social racing event in Greater Lowell, once again was a terrific showcase for some of Greater Lowell's finest runners and a slew of first-timers as well!

Making his racing circuit debut this year was Joshua Nicholson of Lancaster! While the race featured a ton of E Streeters, it's gotten so big, it's hard to pull everyone together, so missing from this year's photos Barry and Carlos, but take my word for it, they both ran (and did quite well!)

Here's the Nicholson grandkids six-pack pre-race The E Streeters and kids, sporting their red-white-and-blue ensembles to celebrate the dayHeather and Shea, a couple of running princessesJosh and Heather are still all smiles, course this was early in the race (it'll change for the later pics)Andrew represented well for the E Streeters, finishing 75th out of 1934 runners! Carlos was nipping at his heels, finishing 88th!Josh is all smiles, basking in the crowd's adulation heading into the finishA high-five from his godmother caps the performanceHeather gives mom a shoutout - we can't print it here on a family blog, thoughShe's so focused crossing the finishSean shows Shea how he posed at the end of his sub-four Boston MarathonAfterwards, sweatier for the experience, everyone is back to all smilesAnd this year's outing featured the running cast of the Lowell Police Academy (Jon Noone was missing from the photo, but he showed quite well for the LPA as well.
Great job by all, hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth! A special thank you to the men and women of our armed services who protect this country year in and year out, and in particular, well-wishes to fellow geek Benari Poulten of Chelmsford who shipped out to Afghanistan - today of all days - for yet another tour of duty. Stay safe over there and keep your head low, Benari!

To my fellow firecracker runners and Fourth fans, see you all again next year!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baby You're a Firework

Thursday evening, some of the Cook clan (Andrew had to work the Spinners) attended an unforgettable night, in concert with Middlesex Community College, the Red Sox Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital and Piers Park sailing program in Boston. The event was held to honor veterans, specifically, wounded warriors, and the work that the college, Red Sox, MGH, and the Piers Park sailing program have done to assist veterans. The collaboration was celebrated in a nighttime reception at 60 State Street in Boston, overlooking Boston Harbor, and capped with an outstanding fireworks display over the harbor.

Here's my all-star, with the Boston skyline and the Tobin Bridge behind her.My two favorite girls, beautiful with a beautiful skyline to back them upOne of the featured speakers of the night was 2008 Olympic gold medalist in sailing, Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, who heads the Piers Park sailing program, and brought her medal for folks to check out.Here's my own gold medalist, brandishing her authentic Olympic goldThe Red Sox and MGH Run to Home base program was front and center for the night. Hats off to all involved....Safe at home, me and my girlThe Boston skyline, after dark, with the Customs House in the foregroundIt's a weird experience watching fireworks from ABOVE themAnd finally, my two girls - you just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine, just own the night, like the Fourth of July, cause baby, you're a firework