Boston Marathon bombing

Memory of MIT Officer Killed by Boston Marathon Bombers Kept Alive Through Nonprofit

It has been nearly 10 years since MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, and an organization set up in his memory is raising funds to help young athletes and the families of fallen officers

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In the years since the Boston Marathon bombings, various organizations have been created to honor the memory of lives lost and those impacted. One of those is the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund.

Named in honor of Sean Collier, an officer with the MIT Police Department killed by the bombers following the attack at the finish line, it aims to impact the lives of children, police officers and their families.

The fund was started by Collier's family, and his former boss at the MIT Police Department helps run it.

Every day after school, young boxers take a free class with the Lowell Police Department's youth services program.

"Once you, like, hit get one good hit on the mitt … You feel it in your hand, you hear it. It's a sweet sound," said Anthony Tang, a young boxer.

"My role as a not only as a police officer, but being a good coach is having that connection, saying that I'm doing the right thing and my purpose is here," said Lowell Police officer Emaly Bouasri.

Bouasri has seen this sport change the kids' lives over the last year.

"Not only do I see them improving, as in themselves as athletes, but as a person, their character," she said.

"It grows my confidence and allows me to know that I can defend myself in most situations," said Tang, a Lowell High School student.

The gym on Central Street is made possible by the city, with much of the equipment inside thanks to the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund.

"When he got shot, it was just — I mean, it was devastating to all of us," said Rich Sullivan, who was Collier's boss at the MIT Police Department. "But I just I just felt I had to do something to try to help keep his name alive. And this is probably the best way I could do it."

Sullivan works to make sure the fund stays true to what Collier believed in.

"I think he'd be thrilled," he said. "He just he was big into donating and giving back to people, and I think he'd be beside himself to see what we've done for him."

Over the years, they've held sports camps, bought wrestling mats for schools and raised money for fallen officers and their families.

"The Sean Collier Memorial Fund has been so good to this gym," said boxing trainer Jack O'Neill. "They've been outstanding. They donated this ring, this beautiful ring, and keep his memory alive. You know, they bought all this equipment."

The fund's goals and the Lowell Police Department's needs aligned at the right moment. Barry Golner, interim superintendent for the Lowell Police Department, said the youth Services Program is one of their highest priorities.

"To be able to, let's say, bridge the gap, build those relationships with the youth in the city, is probably one of the most important things moving forward," he said.

And it doesn't hurt that the city has a connection with the sport.

"It's a lot of history here," said O'Neill. "It's really a great boxing town."

And maybe one day, with the help of mentors in blue and the memory of a man who gave his all, the next big fighter or leader will rise from this city.

"We don't want to just create good boxers," said O'Neill. "We want to create good citizens."

The Collier Fund isn't going anywhere. Eight runners at this year's Boston Marathon will be running in Collier's name, and the organization's annual golf tournament this Sept. 11th will honor first responders.

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