Celtics Recognize the Heroes Among Us
New England is home to many individuals who have made an overwhelming impact on our community, positively affecting the lives of others. For the fourth season, the Boston Celtics will recognize an individual or individuals at each home game who have made a special contribution.
Here are the January 2002 Heroes Among Us:
Raymond Piccinni, Diana Ferrer, Terri Pechner and Steven Smith (pictured with Antoine Walker and Eric Snow)
Raymond Piccinni, Diana Ferrer, Terri Pechner and Steven Smith
On October 6, Terri, Raymond and Steven were shocked to witness an SUV plunge 30 feet off of the Edwards Bridge into the Pines River in Revere. With the vehicle completely submerged in 12 feet of water, the three rushed to rescue the driver, 21-year old Diana Ferrer, who was underwater for 10 minutes before they could free her. While waiting for the rescue teams to arrive, they kept her alive with CPR. After emerging from a coma and a seven-week hospital stay, Diana has fully recovered from her injuries and joined her rescuers at the game!
Danny Ricard (pictured with Antoine Walker and Jalen Rose)
Danny was born with cerebral palsy and has been confined to a wheelchair for 35 years. After living in an institution for over 20 years, Danny is now able to live independently in his own apartment and holds a full-time job. Last year, Danny began fundraising for the Genesis Fund and the Childrenís Miracle Network, charities dedicated to preventing birth defects. By selling raffle tickets and miracle balloons, Danny became one of the Genesis Fundís top fundraisers, single-handedly responsible for collecting over $11,000 in one year!
Detective Lee Grasso (pictured with Paul Pierce and Antonio Davis)
Detective Lee Grasso
Lee, a detective in Malden, was off-duty on the night of November 17, but managed to save a manís life. Lee was at a Knights of Columbus dance when he saw another guest, Michael Walsh, collapse from heart failure. Lee reached Michael in seconds, and noticed he was not breathing. He immediately began CPR, keeping Michael alive until an ambulance arrived on the scene. Thanks to Leeís quick-thinking actions, Michael fully recovered without any damage, and joined him at the game.
Agnes Lynch (with Antoine Walker and Cuttino Mobley)
Nine years ago, Agnes took advantage of a difficult experience to make a positive change in her community. After experiencing a job loss, she established the Braintree Community Food Pantry to make sure no one in her community went hungry. Since then, Agnes has made certain that over 2,000 people yearly receive meals. In recognition of her tireless efforts, Agnes has received the Martin Luther King Peacemaker Award from the town of Braintree.
Yon Hanlon (pictured with Antoine Walker and Michael Curry)
Yon has been a Special Olympics Athlete for over 20 years. He has won over 80 medals in various sports, and his dedication to the Special Olympics movement is equally impressive. As a Global Messenger, Yon has made speeches to thousands of people to help Special Olympics raise substantial amounts of money and recruit many volunteers. Yon's courage is amazing. Despite the passing of his father the day before the 2001 Summer Games, Yon participated in the Torch Run and ran the Olympic Torch into Boston University.
Iris Rivera (pictured with Antoine Walker and Tim Duncan)
Iris is a woman living with HIV, but she has turned her illness into an avenue of service for others. In 1994, Iris opened her home and established Casa Iris, which has become a nurturing environment where families living with HIV and AIDS receive peer support and counseling. Casa Iris also offers referral services and a youth program for children living with HIV. Beginning with just 8 women, Casa Iris serves over 200 families with their programs.
Chris Curran (pictured with Antoine Walker and Eddie Jones)
After 35 years as a postman, Chris hung up his mailbag for the last time yesterday, saying goodbye to his beloved postal route in Scituate. During his career, Chris has done more than delivered mail -- he has become an admired and respected member of his community. Chris has even saved the lives of some of the residents on his route. On several occasions, he has come to the rescue of elderly people who were alone and in need of medical aid. He even averted disaster for one vacationing family when he smelled gas escaping from their home and alerted authorities. One resident calls him ďthe King of Unsung Heroes.Ē
The Ranieri Family (pictured with Paul Pierce and Tracy McGrady)
The Ranieri Family
Like many families, the Ranieriís celebrate the holiday season with a grand party. However, their celebration is dedicated to the residents of the Wrentham Developmental Center, which serves those with significant mental and physical disabilities. The event is complete with gifts for everyone, dinner, dancing and a visit by Santa. The annual party began an astounding 32 years ago as a community service project for parents Daniel and Suzanne. Their three children, who have grown up with the party, proudly join them in carrying on this important tradition.