To Compete, to Remember
LOWELL -- Sean Collier’s name has been synonymous with heroism. Now, the name of the late officer who lost his life in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing will live on as part of the athletics at Lowell High School.
A wrestling mat, worth $12,000, was recently donated to the high school. The red mat reads “Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund.”
Richard Sullivan, a member of the Collier fund, said the goal is to start a wrestling program at the Stoklosa Middle School.
“Originally, we were going to put it there, but then more thought got put into it and we thought it would get more use at the high school with Sean’s logo on it,” said Sullivan, of Dracut.
He said the idea for the wrestling mat came from himself, Kyle Dolliver, a teacher at the Stoklosa Middle School, and Joe Rogers, Collier’s stepfather.
Collier was an MIT police officer with roots in Wilmington. He graduated from Wilmington High School in 2004 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Salem State College in 2009, according to the memorial fund’s website.
At just 26 years old, Collier was killed in the line of duty on April 15, 2013.
Rogers said when he first came to New England, he settled in Lowell and has lived around the city for the past 30 years. He currently lives in Wilmington.
“I felt like I know the city, I know a lot of the people. We get a lot of support for the charity out of Lowell and the surrounding towns,” Rogers said. “So, I just wanted to give back. This is the type of program I think Sean would have liked.”
With sports programs like these, Rogers said it keeps students off the streets and gives them something productive to do.
Lowell High wrestling coach George Bossi agreed.
“That’s why we’re into sports,” Bossi said. “We save kids all the time, not only just wrestling, every activity. Keep them off the streets.”
Bossi said the oldest wrestling mats the high school has date back to 1964. The new mat, he said, is beautiful.
“It’s very portable and lightweight and they’re very adaptable to today’s situation,” Bossi said. “Big, heavy mats we had years ago are too heavy and they’re very hard to transport.”
The ultimate goal is to have a wrestling team or club or intramural program in each of the middle schools in the city, Bossi said.
“It’s not something where we’re just going to buy the mat and say, ‘See ya later,’ and just forget about what we’re doing,” Sullivan said. “We’re trying to make the connection in Lowell with these kids and give them a reason to want to go do stuff.”
For more information on the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund, visit www.officercolliermemorialfund.org .
Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.