Cape Coral Resident Runs Boston Marathon for Fallen Officer
May 15, 2018 01:06PM
Al Rich after completing the 2018 Boston Marathon.
The late Boston police officer Dennis “DJ” Simmonds is considered a forgotten hero of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. However, Al Rich, CRPC®, Financial Advisor for Nolte Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, went a long way to change that, according to a recent press release.
Rich ran in this year’s Boston Marathon - the full 26.2 miles - as part of the #SimmondsStrong team organized by Nicole Simmonds, the sister of the fallen officer. Nicole established a scholarship in the name of her brother at Lasell College near Boston.
Rich spent 10 years working in law enforcement before he became a financial advisor, so the story was especially heartfelt.
“Everyone who puts on that badge or works in a department becomes part of a family,” Rich said in the release. “We never forget when an officer gives their life in the service of others. Never.”
Simmonds suffered a head injury during a shootout with the Boston bombing suspects in nearby Watertown. A year later, just days before he was to receive a National Association of Police Organizations Top Cop Award, he died from a brain aneurysm that was linked to his initial injury.
His family has sought for him to be recognized alongside the three who died in the bombing as well as a fourth person, MIT Officer Sean Collier, who was shot and killed by the Tsarnaev brothers hours before the shootout that injured Simmonds. However, Simmonds’ name was excluded from some memorials and from the 2016 film “Patriots Day.”
“The pain that the Simmonds family has gone through is unimaginable,” Rich said. “I simply couldn’t pass up this opportunity to help him get the recognition he deserves.”
Rich began training for the marathon late last year, overcoming persistent knee soreness to gradually build up from the shorter runs of 3-4 miles he usually takes. He’s rumbled over bridges in an effort to mimic the challenge of “Heartbreak Hill,” a notorious incline roughly 20 miles into the Boston Marathon route.
“This wasn’t easy, but that wasn’t the point,” Rich said. “This was about supporting the Simmonds family as well as everyone who risks their life to serve our communities. This was not about me. It was about them.”