So, Say My Name - Part II
Captain Gerald F. DeConto Memorial Scholarship 5K Run-Walk
In July, we shared a blog written for Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. SoulSpring Counselor Cindy Gourley shared a story in that blog about the annual 5K walk/run that honors the life and service of Captain Gerald F. DeConto, United States Navy from Sandwich, Massachusetts. Well, Cindy participated in the race and wanted to share the experience.
5K Run-Walk Recap
A quiet Cape Cod town of 3,000 residents during our high school years in the 1970’s, Sandwich was settled in 1637 and known in the 1800’s for its glass factory. Tourism has long been the primary reason for attracting many of the seasonal visitors to the Cape, with our peninsula full of beaches, charming
cottages, artists, and wildlife.
During the pandemic, the 5K race was held solely virtually so this past weekend was the first time in 2 years that the event was back in person. Now in it’s 21st year since the tragedy at the Pentagon on 9-11, the Naval hero could once again be honored for his service to his family, town, and country.
These images show how a small community can come together to celebrate the qualities that made this highly decorated officer so admired by his family, friends, Navy comrades and all the recipients of the scholarship fund awarded to a graduating senior that exemplifies his strengths.
The race began with a welcome by Patricia DeConto the 91 year old matriarch of his Gold Star family, as she was surrounded by Jerry’s two brothers (David & Ray), two sisters (Marie – the primary driving force and organizer of this event & Dale, the youngest of the DeConto children), nieces, nephews, classmates from 1975, Naval comrades and many other local townies. The color guard and many students from the high school athletic teams plus the race committee volunteers assisted in the organization and production of the event.
As his mom stated, she felt that Jerry was present in spirit at the road race. Pat DeConto is one of those bereaved parents that has had to deal with the loss of an adult son for over 20 years now. Despite this immense loss, as she ended her welcome address to the crowd, she encouraged everyone to have fun. Jerry although he was a local soccer star, he also knew how to have a good time.
The 3.1 mile event winds through Town Neck neighborhood with its views of the marsh, past the beach and the Cape Cod canal.
Everyone stays to cheer in the last walker before drawing the door prizes and awarding the true runners with their metals. All present and every participant wins at an event like this that reminds us of who we strive to be at our core – strong, resilient, intelligent, athletic, loving, dedicated to our hometown and our country, and of course, living is also about having fun.
We will also, NEVER forget. And to quote Pat, “Go Navy!”