Achilles has some of the most amazing volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years! We want to recognize them here every month. To nominate someone, please email Fiona.
This month, we highlight volunteer Jeremy Fucile!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
In 2008, prior to the Boston Marathon, Maureen Dunn* told me about the Achilles FREEDOM TEAM and asked if I would like to help host the team and get a donation of water and Gatorade for the weekend. That was when I first became a volunteer.
What has that experience been like for you?
Being associated with Achilles has been one of life’s most amazing journeys for me. I am constantly in awe of the people who work for Achilles--the athletes who participate with Achilles and the feats they all accomplish. Mr. Traum, Janet, Joe, Genna, Ellie, Josie and Enza are all part of my family now and it has been my complete honor to be able to help with the marathon weekend each year and this year to help coordinate the Boston Chapter of Achilles.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer guide:
Each year brings its own special memories. I would have to say my most special memory was 2013 which was the last year Maureen Dunn was with us. Knowing what she was going through (with her health) at the time and to see her summon all her strength just to be with the team really showed how much Achilles meant to her.
2014 was also special as it was my first year organizing things for the team’s Boston Marathon weekend visit. It was also the first time my brother and nephew were able to help out and see the amazing work you all do with Achilles. Everything came together nicely and we all enjoyed a great weekend. I can never put into words the pride I feel to be able to help out the heroes of the FREEDOM TEAM and the everyday champions who make up the Achilles Team. “Inspirational” and “amazing” are words that only scratch the surface and do not do justice to the grit and determination put on display each year. The past few months as a co-coordinator with Kim Chadwell in Boston has been truly special as well. Seeing our team come together and become fast friends through running has been great. I’m super proud watching Kate Katulak reach and exceed her running goals going from wanting to train to finish a 5K to finishing a half marathon and now training for her first marathon in May. This couldn’t be done without those who volunteer to guide her each week and each race. I know Kim is having similar success with her group as well and it’s very rewarding to watch.
Please name one or two athletes you have worked with:
Spending the weekend each year with all of these inspirational people allows me to interact with the team on many levels. I have kept in regular contact with Michael and Monica Frazier, Richard and Brandi Gooding, Cameron Kerr, Earl Granville, Greg Sapp, Marcus Hayward, Zach Dunn, Chris Hancock, John Masson.
Is there was anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being a guide for Achilles what would it be?
Being witness to the life-changing effect Achilles has on those in recovery from injury and watching all these athletes meet personal goals and smash records both personal and official makes me so proud to know you all. Knowing there are people like you in the world makes it easy for me in facing everyday challenges.
Mention a little about your own background: where you are from? How long you have lived in NYC? What your work entails? Any other special interests or hobbies?
I grew up in Randolph, MA, just south of Boston and my wife and I have settled back in Randolph after living on Cape Cod. The POW-MIA issue became a part of my life 25 years ago when I met Maureen Dunn. I will forever be grateful for all she taught me about the respect and gratitude we owe our Veterans. In addition to volunteering with Achilles, I also volunteer at various Veterans events involving Gold Star and military families. In September 2014, I became a co-coordinator of the Boston Chapter of Achilles which has been very challenging and fulfilling! I work full-time for Pepsi as an Account Manager and when I’m not working or volunteering I can usually be found putting up drywall or painting or working in the yard as we make our house our home.
Anything else you might like to add?
Amazing is a word that gets thrown around a lot. (That meal was amazing! That coffee was amazing! That kale smoothie was amazing!) I would like to say that amazing to me is what you guys do each and every day. You are changing the lives of people who might otherwise have nothing to keep them going or become inspired. These people in turn inspire us and that amount of amazing and inspiration is nothing short of amazing! Achilles went from a group of people I saw once a year to becoming family to me and my wife. I look forward to the times throughout the year when we might be able to see each other away from the craziness of a marathon and I love keeping in touch with so many of you! I’m glad to have Achilles as my crazy New York family and look forward to many fun and fulfilling years ahead with you all! Thank you for wanting to dig into my world a bit.
*Maureen Dunn: 1941 - 2013
Maureen Dunn was a much-loved friend of Achilles. After her husband Joe Dunn went missing in action in Vietnam, Maureen Dunn, a Boston native, refused to rest until she got some answers. She is responsible for starting the POW/MIA movement. That cause turned into advocating for subsequent generations coming home from war. Maureen was instrumental in the Achilles FREEDOM TEAM’s presence in the Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day.
Maureen Dunn opened the door for the members of the Achilles FREEDOM TEAM to hand cycle in the Boston Marathon. She passed away just weeks after the tragic 2013 marathon. She remains with us in so many ways as we continue her legacy to support those who deserve the right to participate in all marathons.
A special note from Jeremy: During that last marathon weekend with us in 2013 she was fighting cancer and close to her last treatments. There were people who told her to rest and not worry about being with Achilles that weekend but she would not hear of it. She summoned all the strength she had to join us for the weekend and ensure the team was taken care of and had a good time. Her focus over the last few years shifted from the sadness of the POW-MIA issue over to these wounded Veterans from Achilles whom she fondly called "my kids". It was a more positive direction for her as she could see all the good Achilles was doing and how it was changing the lives of many of these guys through the chance to focus on their abilities and less on their disabilities to compete again. In short, it made her feel good to see and she wouldn't have missed it for the world. She was in the hospital on lock down receiving treatment when the bombs went off and we were her first call because she wanted to know all her kids were okay. An amazing woman, one of my closest friends and a tireless advocate for Veterans is who she was and we miss her every day. - Jeremy
Read more about our volunteer program.