By Liam Dacko
Friends and family of James Wright, along with members of the Easton and Stonehill communities made their way to the College on Oct. 20 to participate in the third annual James Wright Memorial 5K Run & Walk.
For the past three years, Stonehill College has been the site of this event, which is held in honor of Easton resident James Wright. Wright died unexpectedly after suffering a heart attack in February 2011.
“The James Wright Memorial 5k Run & Walk was my wife Mary’s idea and it has been very successful,” said James’s father, Paul Wright.
A former high school athlete involved in baseball and football, James was the brother of Stonehill Class of 2012 alumnus Brendan Wright. Brendan was the captain of Stonehill’s baseball team during his tenure at the school.
According to the Facebook page for this event, the proceeds of the walk will go to support the James Wright Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund has been set up to provide financial aid to college students from James’s hometown, Stoughton. The students who benefit from this fund must be student athletes. Scholarships are given on a need or merit basis.
The fund does not only benefit college students. According to Paul, it also provides financial assistance to families who have lost children and serves to prevent rescue dogs from being euthanized.
“Since James has passed, his fund has saved over two dozen pitbull terriers from being put down for no reason other than their breed,” Paul said.
In contrast to previous years, the memorial walk will also benefit breast cancer research this year. A portion of the profits made from the sale of pink t-shirts at the walk will be donated to this cause in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is in October.
Paul said that the walk has been a big success, having raised approximately $30,000 in the past two years. He attributed this success to the support of the Stonehill community. Paul said that certain members of the Stonehill community have been particularly helpful since his son’s death. One such person is a former president of Stonehill, Father Mark Cregan.
“Fr. Mark Cregan presided over James’ funeral and was a great comfort to our family during an incredibly difficult time.”
Paul also says that Stonehill Baseball coach Pat Boen was extremely helpful during the Wright family’s time of grief.
“Pat Boen and the entire baseball team surrounded Brendan with support, comfort, and guidance that allowed him to continue with the team and his studies and graduate on time.”
Paul has high hopes that the memorial walk will continue to grow with the support of members of the Stonehill community like Father Cregan and Coach Boen.
“With the incredible support that the entire Stonehill Community has given us, we look forward to growing this event year after year monetarily and in the amount of Stonehill involvement- at the undergraduate and alumni levels,” he said.