Hopkinton Marathon Committee to Honor Veterans on Patriots’ Day in “Year of Service” at 122nd Boston Marathon Start

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In honor of Patriots’ Day, the Hopkinton Marathon Committee (HMC) honors local veterans at the start of the Boston Marathon each year. Since 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the military relay that took place instead of the traditional marathon during World War I in 1918, the Boston Athletic Association has called 2018 a “Year of Service” and is recognizing people who serve their community in many ways, including volunteering and public service. In keeping with this year’s theme “Year of Service,” the Hopkinton Marathon Committee selected five veterans—three from the Hopkinton Police Department and a Hopkinton Fire Department lieutenant, as well as another respected community member—as the honored veterans for 2018. The HMC will recognize local veterans Russell H. Phipps, Fire Department Lt. Gary Daugherty, Jr., Police Department Officer Phil Powers, Sr. Detective Bill Burchard, III, and Sgt. Aaron O’ Neil on Patriots’ Day before thousands of runners and spectators.

“The Hopkinton Marathon Committee has honored our local veterans as a way of recognizing and acknowledging those who served our nation and the sacrifices they made to protect the freedoms we enjoy today. Every American citizen owes a great debt to our veterans,” said HMC chairperson, Dorothy Ferriter-Wallace. “The program began as a way to remember and honor those who fought and served our country. Each year we remind our local veterans that we are proud of their service and pay tribute to all veterans on Patriots’ Day. When the veterans stand on the starters’ platform as they are introduced and hear the National Anthem it is heartwarming to see the pride in their eyes as they reminisce about their years in the service.”

*Phipps grew up in Hopkinton then served in the Navy from 1963 through 1967. He traveled all over the world on the destroyer, the USS Warrington 843. His main job in electronics was to hunt submarines, and he brought two to the surface. He spent his last year of service as a second-class petty officer in Vietnam, where he was exposed to Agent Orange and permanently disabled. He lives on a large plot on Lake Whitehall and has protected his land, through Chapter 61, from development. He has volunteered with HCAM-TV. His 97-year-old father, is a WWI veteran who still works at the saw mill.

*Daugherty served the Air Force as a firefighter from 1998 through 2004. For most of that time, the Staff Sergeant was stationed in Spangdahlem, Germany. He moved to Hopkinton to start work at the Hopkinton Fire Department in the same year he earned his discharge from the Air Force.

*Burchard is one of the veterans being honored who is also a runner, though he sticks with half marathons and shorter races. The detective will be working on race day this year and not available to be honored in person. He has served in the Hopkinton Police Department for almost 16 years. A veteran of the Army Reserves, he served from 1995 through 2004, including two years of active duty stateside at Ft. Drum during Operation Iraqui Freedom. He started with basic training at Ft. Sill, OK, before moving on to Ft. Jackson, SC. He has enjoyed working the Boston Marathon since the mid-‘90s, starting as an Auxilliary Police Officer.

*O’Neil spent 10 years from 1991 through 2001 in the Army Reserve as Military Police, right out of high school, serving while he was going through college and early in his Hopkinton Police Department career. While he drilled out of Ft. Devens and in Manchester, NH, he was deployed in 2000 with the 3rd Infantry Division as part of the NATO peace keeping mission in Bosnia Herzegovina, where he was the Squad/Team Leader conducting such missions as route security, vehicle escorts, military law enforcement, and base security. In May, for the ninth year in a row, O’Neil will ride in the Police Unity Tour, a 300-mile, four-day bike ride, ending at the Law Enforcement National Memorial in Washington D.C. While others from the department, including Burchard, have joined him, he will be the only Hopkinton officer riding this year. O’Neil has also run the Boston and New York Marathons.

*Powers served in the active Air Force from 1976 until 1979, then went into the Mass Air National Guard, then the New Hampshire National Guard, receiving Honorable Discharges from all three. He worked as a fuel specialist while stationed at Pease Air Force Base, and as a radar operator in Massachusetts, and ranked as a Sgt. Now the school resource officer, Power has worked with the HPD for more than 30 years after about nine years with the Upton Police. The Milford native moved to Hopkinton about 15 years ago. His son, Phil, Jr., also a veteran and a police officer, has also been honored at the marathon start.