BOSTON, Mass. – For the first time in its brief history and first time since the award began, a member of the UMass Boston Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs, staff has one a very special community award. Oderra Jones, the departments Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator won the "Major General Henry Knox Unsung Hero Award", given by the South Boston Citizens Association.
The award has been given out every year, since 2004 to everyday citizens involved in the community who seek no recognition, who are considered "Unsung Heroes". Jones received this award for the work and help he provided the South Boston Youth Hockey program in 2015. When the City of Boston experienced multiple ice rink collapses and shut downs because of the year's record amount of snow fall/storms, Jones and the UMass Boston athletics department stepped up to offer assistance. Because of Jones contributions and his work with Tommy McGrath, the President of the South Boston Citizens Association, the children of South Boston Youth Hockey were able to continue playing their season and not miss a beat, by having a practice space and a site for their games, as their rink was one effected by the weather.
The award was presented to Jones at the Jimmy Flaherty Kick-off Breakfast, at the Seapoint Restaurant. Jones was introduced to the crowd and handed the award by State Representative Nick Collins, a state representative who was born and raised in the South Boston community. The kick-off event serves as the official start of Evacuation Day and St. Patrick's Day festivities. Because of the magnitude of the event, Mayor Marty Walsh was in attendance along with other state and city legislatures. Each addressed the community and crowd. Mayor Walsh expressed his fondness for the community and award as being one, he's very close to and holds near and dear to his heart.
Also honored at the breakfast with the same such award was Mona Connolly Casper, another UMass Boston employee, who has long deep ties to the South Boston community and programs, from her work with the South Boston Youth Hockey program and South Boston Irish- American Society.
Mona remains an important part of the fabric of the South Boston community, along with her husband Tom, who is also involved in coaching youth sports, the Connolly – Casper family represents what's best about South Boston. Family, hard-work, community and volunteering. A true example of South Boston Pride!