2.4 min readBy Published On: January 4th, 2014Categories: Features1 Comment on Big Southie Shout-out

Polar Plunge for Scleroderma

Over 600 people braved the cold and plunged into icy waters on New Year’s Day for the annual L Street Brownie Polar Plunge. Each year, a group gathers under the guidance of local legend and all around great guy, Kevin Conroy and plunge for Scleroderma Research.  They meet at L Street Tavern – maybe down a few shots of courage and then parade down L Street, led by pipes and drums, and dunk into the water.  This year was no different.

The Umpteenth Annual Scleroderma Polar Plunge, helps raise funds for the Scleroderma Foundation – an organization that Kevin holds dear to his heart.  Kevin’s sister Liz (Conroy) Lombard, 55, and mother of 5 children suffers from the disease.  People came in from all over the Greater Boston area to take part in this event.

This year, Kevin did something a little different as they marched down L Street.  In February, local elections attorney and fixture in local politics, Bill McDermott, was struck and killed by a car at the intersetction in front of the L Street Bathhouse.  McDermott was beloved and his death impacted many people.  On the way to the L to take the plunge, Kevin and the Greater Boston Firefighter Pipes and Drums stopped at the intersection to remember Bill McDermott with “Amazing Grace”.  McDermott’s son Liam and daughter Deirdre were in attendance.  They stopped to place a small wreath. 

From a Facebook post by Liam McDermott:
Kevin let Deirdre and I lead the procession down L Street to the bath-house for the Brownie’s Polar Plunge. That was a true honor, and one I will always cherish. It was a bittersweet feeling holding Deirdre’s hand and walking closer and closer to the “L”. Thankyou to the greatest guys I’ve met the Greater Boston Firefighters Pipes and Drums for playing “Amazing Grace at the intersection. I can’t wait to get to know you better.  A tipped cap salute at the L street entrance with Scott Dalrymple and seeing Jack Dever and Fred Ahern before the plunge felt like home. Hearing Fred memorialize my dad to a crowd that probably never knew him in such a kind and fitting way is a moment I’ll never forget. 2014 is off to a fantastic start so far.

A big Southie Shout-out to Kevin Conroy and the Great Boston Firefighter Pipes and Drums for doing something so positive and meaningful for a family and for an entire community. 

If you missed the Polar Plunge, there is always next year.  You can meet up with Kevin and company at the L Street Tavern where they meet every year.  If you would like to donate to the Scleroderma Foundation, you can send checks to:
Kevin Conroy
169 West. Eighth Street
South Boston, MA 02127

For more information on the Scleroderma Foundation, go to www.scleroderma.org


One Comment

  1. Kevin Conroy January 6, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Maureen, thank you for posting this.  Scleroderma has struck my sister and numerous other people in our neighborhood.   The Massachusettes Dept. of Public Health did a study trying to determine the source of this disease afflicting South Boston in dispropotionate numbers.  Their findings were inconclusive.  This was in part because of a low response level.  It’s dissappointing, but we do what we can.

    Thank you to everyone out there who has supported our cause and to Jack and Susan Woods at the L St. Tavern for hosting this for 13 years.  Also I want to thank the Greater Boston Firefighters Pipes & Drums for their support.  I would be remiss in not thanking all the neighbors in the L Street neighborhood for putting up with us!

    Happy and Healthy 2014 to all!

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