The Irish Emigrant newspaper, in partnership with IrishCentral.com and Irish America magazine, will be holding its third annual Irish Heroes of New England awards in Boston on Wednesday, December 3.
Michael Kennedy is being honored posthumously with an Irish Heroes of New England award in recognition of his heroism and ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty as a firefighter for the city of Boston.
Kennedy, along with Lt. Edward Walsh, died in a nine-alarm fire that tore through a Back Bay brownstone in the city on March 26.
Speaking with The Irish Emigrant, his mother, Kathy Crosby-Bell recalls " Immediately following Michael's death, the incredible outpouring of sympathy, love and support from the public was remarkable."
An investigation in the aftermath of the fire, found a fault in the men's fire hose that prevented water being piped through the line ultimately leading to the loss of these two brave men.
As a means of preventing this type of tragedy from ever happening again, Crosby-Bell has launched the Last Call Foundation, in an effort to raise money for equipment, education and research for the Boston fire departments.
"It occurred to me, that if I as the mother of a firefighter, I was unaware of the huge issues facing Boston firefighter, then the public certainly was as well," Crosby-Bell says, "I never knew that a fire hose could burn through."
"At the official launch of the Last Call foundation, six months after that horrendous Beacon Street fire that killed Michael and Ed, we began with the announcement of a Grant to WPI Fire Engineering Program to fund a seed study into a fire hose."
Crosby-Bell admits after doing her own research that she "was appalled at the conditions in the fire houses."
Continuing, she says " As we were beginning to incorporate the foundation, I became aware of more serious threats to a firefighter's safety."
Citing the rise of cancer incidences and the high rate of heart diseases in firefighters, Crosby-Bell has uncovered a whole range of issues affecting some of Boston's bravest citizens. Her hope is that the foundation will help raise money to help renovate and update firehouses, fund research and buy equipment such as industrial washers critical to enhancing the safety and well-being of Boston firefighters.
It is also hoped, that the organization will raise enough money to establish a memorial for her son, Michael Kennedy and his fallen comrade, Lt. Edward Walsh, as a "permanent remembrance of these courageous firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty."
For more information on Last Call Foundation, please visit www.lastcallfoundation.org
The awards will be presented at a reception and awards ceremony to be held in downtown Boston. Diaego/Guinness and its “Made of More” campaign will be a main supporter of the event.If you would like to find out more about the event please email [email protected] or call 617-268-8322.