Growing up in South Boston, “Southie pride” was something that was always assumed. As a child, you’re never really sure what exactly it is that you’re proud of, you just know that your hometown is something to be celebrated. Years pass and a funny little thing called life happens all around you.
From the outside looking in, one may wonder what there is to be so proud of based on reading the papers and watching the news. Busing, the soiling of Old Glory, Whitey, or any other number of unfortunate circumstances that is sure to generate clicks on a website but does little to move society forward. The public loves a good controversy and Southie has always seemed to have its share.
I was speaking with a friend Saturday night and he was chuckling at what he discovered during a few google searches. By typing in “South Boston Man”, Google’s suggestions to complete the search were along the lines of “South Boston Man Shot”, “South Boston Man Stabbed”, “South Boston Man Arrested” etc. As he told me this, I looked around at a crowd of about 400 people who had all come out in support of the Timothy “Doc” Cook Scholarship Fund at the Boston Teachers Union Hall.
Timmy Cook was a son of South Boston. He joined the United States Navy but was accepted as a Marine by his brothers that he served as a medic in Iraq. His entire life was centered around helping others, yet Timmy himself never asked for a thing. After war, Timmy had a hard time unseeing some of the gruesome hell that he had marched through. The emotional scars got the better of him and Timmy ultimately passed away.
Joe Cook, Timmy’s dad, was determined to ensure that Timmy’s sacrifices weren’t buried with him. His contributions to this country are something that should be celebrated. They had to be celebrated. When Joe told a few close friends of his objective, the plans were immediately put into action.
Every Tuesday, the crowd at the weekly committee meetings seemed to grow. The donations on the website began to add up. The sightings of the tee shirts sold in Timmy’s honor became more and more frequent around the neighborhood, along with a pickup truck bearing a huge billboard with details of Timmy’s Scholarship Fund. Gift baskets, sports memorabilia, and gift certificates from local businesses poured in. The response was truly overwhelming.
As I looked around this crowd of over 400, I was reminded that there is in a fact a reason to be proud. When there is a worthy cause in South Boston, the community immediately responds, every single time. It’s not some arbitrary sense of entitlement or superiority, it’s knowing that this community has each other’s back, time after time after time. This is why we’re proud to be from South Boston. This is what it’s all about.