BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING
By K.C. Myers
Posted Apr. 16, 2016 at 2:00 AM
Updated Apr 16, 2016 at 7:01 AM
DEDHAM — A trans-Atlantic connection between a Brewster couple and a crystal engraver from Waterford, Ireland, culminated Friday night with the presentation of sparkling memorials to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh accepted the two crystal sculptures on behalf of the city during a gathering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Endicott House on the third anniversary of the terrorist attack, calling the work by master engraver Sean Egan “displays of heartbreak and resilience.”
Ralph and Rose Ingegneri, of Brewster, met Egan on their 50th wedding anniversary when their bus tour took them to Egan’s studio in Waterford. The results of the meeting are now part of Boston Strong’s history.
“This is a perfect example of how a personal sentiment can turn into something much larger,” said John McDonald, director of DSL Business Services at MIT.
– View a photo gallery from Friday’s special event in Dedham
Egan had been laid off along with 1,000 employees of the Waterford Crystal factory when it closed in 2009.
By the time the Ingegneris walked into his studio in 2011, Egan had struck out on his own and was working on a sketch of a memorial tribute for the police and firefighters lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rose Ingegneri said. Egan had been in Manhattan after the 2001 attack and was moved to donate a memorial to Engine Company 1, Ladder 24, he said.
When Egan discovered Ralph Ingegneri had been a fire chief in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., he asked him if he could help him get a remnant of the World Trade Center to use in this sculpture.
Ralph went home and asked Brewster Fire Chief Robert Moran, a former Englewood, N.J., fire chief, who spent many days at ground zero following the terrorist attacks. Moran, through a series of connections, procured two small pieces of steel from the World Trade Center through the office of the New York City fire commissioner, Moran said.
– Video of Waterford engraver Sean Egan talking about his glass engraving
Of all the hundreds of tourists who offered something, the Ingegneris came through, the engraver said.
“I was very blessed and honored to get it,” Egan said.
Their friendship prompted plans for another tribute in 2015, after Ralph and Rose watched the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on television. They were sickened by the details, particularly of the death of 8-year-old Martin Richard.
“I said, ‘We have to do something, Rose,’ and she said, ‘You’re right,’” Ralph said Friday.
In just 14 months, the couple, who are both in their late 70s, formed a committee, got a meeting with Walsh’s staff, and raised $31,000 in donations. The money was used to buy the engravings materials and help the family of bombing victims.
Without the Ingegneris’ perseverance and passion, “We wouldn’t be here today,” said state Rep. Timothy Whelan, R-Brewster.
Egan donated his time and created two sculptures: One honors Sean Collier, the 27-year-old M.I.T. police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The other memorializes the broader tragedy, depicting a skyline of Boston, and the five deceased victims as doves. On the base of the second sculpture are the words written in chalk by the hundreds of people who scratched their condolences near the marathon finish line:
“May we never forget.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.”
“Boston, I love you forever.”
MIT will exhibit the sculpture made for Collier at the campus police station on Vassar Street, said Michael Fitzgerald, who is chairman of the 2013 Marathon Tribute Memorial Group, a Brewster resident and an MIT employee.
Walsh said he’s still trying to find the best place for the other engraving.
“We have a great history of glass-making stretching to the 18th century,” said John Cummins, the 28-year-old mayor of Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland.
American tourists always compliment the Irish when they come to his studio, Egan said.
And he compliments them back.
“Look at how people rushed to help after the Boston Marathon bombing,” Egan said. “And at 9/11, the firefighters and police went up those stairs not knowing if they’d ever come back.”
— Follow K.C. Myers on Twitter: @kcmyerscct.