It was Saturday morning; the weather was overcast and warm and it was looking like rain. And while many people enjoy staying in on cloudy Saturdays and relaxing, this cloudy weekend day was special, and the crowd had no intention of missing the event that was about to take place. Because beloved South Boston Hero John ‘Jackie’ O’Brien was being honored on this morning and there were many of his devoted fans who would have walked through a raging hurricane to be there. To say the crowd was enthusiastic would be an understatement. People were thrilled to be part of this celebration.
The brand new Street Hockey Court would from this day on proudly bear the name of John ‘Jackie’ O’Brien and was dedicated to him by a grateful community with appreciation and love for his limitless generosity and so many wonderful things he has done over the years for people in South Boston.
The entire South Boston elected delegation was in attendance. Congressman Steve Lynch, Senator Nick Collins, State Representative David Biele and City Councilor Ed Flynn. City Councilor Mike Flaherty was the Master of Ceremonies. Jackie’s long-time close friend and fellow athlete Ray Flynn was also present to wish Jackie well. Famous celebrity vocalist Mr. Rene Rancourt came to sing the National Anthem as everyone present stood solemnly and respectfully during the beautifully performed song.
But it wasn’t just pomp and ceremony on this morning. Adding to the excitement was some fast-moving sports action courtesy of the players in the Danglefest Street Hockey Tournament. These players may have been young pre-teens, but they were talented, played with heart and put on a great show which fit right in with the rest of the activities honoring Jackie. The kids were honored to have Jack drop the ball for the first faceoff at center court.
John ‘Jackie’ O’Brien is recognized as one of Southie’s greats. He has donated and contributed so much to so many and to just about every good cause in town. Every youth organization has benefitted from Jack’s kindness and generosity as well as senior citizens groups, veteran’s organizations and the endless number of charities and fundraisers that have work so hard to make the lives of South Bostonians better; especially those in need. And as is said so often, Jack never did it for recognition or praise. He did it to give back to his neighborhood. For him, it was always a labor of love.
So, on this day, Saturday, August 15th, 2020, the people of South Boston got their chance to say as a group, ‘Thank You, Jack O’Brien’ for all you have done and continue to do. As always, Jack was there to greet his friends and neighbors with his familiar big, friendly warm and sincere smile. And yes, even the rain held off for this very special event.