The Irish American Police Officers Association (IAPOA) is pleased to announce the Boston Sparks Association has earned the 2021 Sean A. Collier Civilian Support Award.
The Boston Sparks Association was presented with the award this weekend at Florian Hall, in Boston, in recognition for tireless work the organization’s volunteers have done for years to support first responders.
“For those who aren’t familiar with the Boston Sparks, they are the unsung heroes we’ve come to know, love and truly depend on in times of need,” said IAPOA President Bob Sweetland. “They show up to make sure our police and firefighters have food and proper hydration during major incidents. They have been our saving grace on the hottest days and coldest.”
The Boston Sparks were recognized in particular for their work to provide support to State and local police, as well as National Guard troops, during numerous protests and civil disturbances in Boston and surrounding communities over the past year.
Despite facing occasional risks to their own safety due to the unpredictable and often tense environments they responded to, the volunteers steadfastly refused to let law enforcement and the National Guard face those situations without the support they have come to know. On one night in particular — when most stores and businesses were closed — the Boston Sparks provided 800 sandwiches, water and Gatorade to first responders.
Volunteers from the Boston Sparks also worked to keep first responders fed, hydrated and supported in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, and at incidents large and small since then.
“This outstanding group of volunteers is there for every major incident in Greater Boston, regardless of the time of day, the weather, or risks to their own safety,” Sweetland said. “The Boston Sparks Association has the backs of our first responders no matter what the circumstances are. This is our way of saying a heartfelt ‘Thank you.’
The Sean A. Collier Civilian Support Award is named in memory of Officer Collier, who was known for his volunteer work in the community before he was killed by the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013. In addition to performing his duties for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department, Officer Collier served as an auxiliary police officer in Somerville for several years, worked with the homeless community, and was a supporter of the Jimmy Fund.
The IAPOA usually holds an annual awards dinner for all honorees, but has been unable to do so for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year the IAPOA is recognizing honorees by travelling to meet them and present the awards individually. The IAPOA is hopeful they will be able to host an in-person dinner and awards ceremony again next year.
Individuals and organizations can be nominated for awards in six categories:
- Life saving
- Meritorious service
- Community Service
- Humanitarian Acts
To learn more about the Boston Sparks Association, click here.
The IAPOA is a designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization.