K.C. Myers, Cape Cod Times
December 21, 2015
BREWSTER — a chance meeting with a Waterford crystal master engraver led a Brewster couple on a journey to donate two crystal sculptures in memory of the Boston Marathon bombing victims.
Ralph and Rose Ingegneri’s efforts will end in April with a reception planned at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where two crystal sculptures made by Irish artist Sean Egan will be dedicated.
The Ingegneris met Egan five years ago while on a bus tour of Ireland for their 50th wedding anniversary. They passed the Waterford crystal factory, which had just closed and put hundreds of people out of work, Rose said. The bus driver told them that one master engraver from the factory had opened his own studio, where he made high-profile pieces. Ralph and Rose stopped in on Egan, who was at work on a commissioned piece for the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. When Egan discovered Ralph had been a fire chief in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., he asked him if he could help him get two small pieces of steel from the decimated World Trade Center to use in his sculpture. Ralph said he’d try.
Back at home in Brewster, Ralph, 79, asked Fire Chief Robert Moran, a former Englewood, New Jersey, fire chief, if he had any connections. Moran did. “I was able to get Sean two small pieces,” Moran said.
Fast forward to April 15, 2013. The Ingegneris were watching news of the Boston Marathon bombing. Ralph said his heart broke when he heard about 8-year-old Martin Richard, killed as he sat at the finish line waiting for his dad to run across it. The boy reminded Ralph of his own grandson. “What made me sick is that they left the bomb right next to him,” Ralph said. “I said, ‘We have to do something.” The couple formed a committee and called their friend in Ireland. Michael Fitzgerald, a member of the Brewster Finance Committee and an employee at MIT, joined their committee, helping to earn the support of MIT’s chief of police, John DiFava.
Egan is now at work on two crystal memorials. One will be placed at MIT and will include the engraved young face of Sean Collier, 26, the MIT police officer killed April 18 by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who ambushed Collier in a failed attempt to steal his pistol. State Rep. Timothy Whelan, R-Brewster, is trying to finalize placement for the crystal memorial of the other victims. They are eyeing the Boston Public Library, Ralph said.
The marathon crystal memorials will each be about 3 feet wide at the base and 1 foot tall, Egan wrote in an email. Ralph and Rose, 78, have started an ambitious fundraising campaign hoping for about $100,000, including $50,000 to complete the pieces and hold the dedication. Any money left over would go to the bombing victims and survivors.
The Ingegneris have been driving to each police and fire department on the Cape to discuss the project and get donations. “After visiting all the police departments, they boosted my morale so much,” Ralph said. Those interested in donating or finding out further information regarding this exciting project may visit the group’s website at marathontribute.org.