DRACUT, MA - A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday to commemorate the start of construction of a new, fully accessible residence for the Corcoran family of Lowell. Celeste and her daughter Sydney Corcoran were both severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013.Sydney suffered leg injuries as a result of being hit with shrapnel and Celeste has lost both her legs; one above and one below the knee.
Supporters of the family and the project gathered to recognize the contributions of many. Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Thomas Gatzunis, spoke of the teamwork and the creation of the Boston Survivor’s Accessibility Alliance (BSAA): “The people of Massachusetts have come together to be Massachusetts strong, Corcoran strong, family strong, and survivor strong… This is a shining example of the community coming together.”
The new home will include entries at grade, an accessible layout with wider doors and hallways, and an elevator to allow wheelchair access throughout. Tom Dube, Chief Operating Officer of Green Leaf Construction, opened the ceremony by speaking of the significant limitations the Corcoran’s existing residence poses for the family. “We have been working; programming, designing and reviewing the project in painstaking detail to make sure that this house will work for them for the rest of their lives.” Green Leaf Construction is donating construction management fees for the project.
Working in partnership with the Boston Survivor’s Accessibility Alliance, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) formed the Renovate for Recoverycommittee. Gretchen Schneider Rabinkin, Executive Director of the Community Design Resource Center, encourages, “For survivors still out there who are settling into recovery and now have a clearer picture of how their buildings get in the way, please give the Commissioner’s office a call. We are still here to help.”
Before breaking ground, Celeste Corcoran noted that “it would not have been possible to build our new, accessible home without the help of all the public agencies and diverse groups of professionals who have donated their time and skills to these agencies to help the survivors that were injured on April 15, 2013. Our hope is to let anyone hurt by the bombings know that these agencies are still there for you; you just need to contact them.”
“The Corcorans have done more physical and emotional healing in the past 17 months than most of us will have done in a lifetime.” Tom Dube added. “While we recognize that it is concrete and lumber, bricks and mortar that make a house, it will be the living, the healing and the surviving that the Corcorans do from day one and every day for the rest of their lives that will make this house a home.”
Many firms have come together to assist the family including Kevin Corcoran’s employer, F.W. Webb Company, who worked with the family to connect them with partners including Green Leaf. F.W. Webb also assisted in the process associated with the purchase of the land for the new home, and will be donating plumbing and heating materials to the project. Additional project partners include Allain Sitework, Concord & Littleton Lumber, DSF Construction, Interstate Electrical, Summit Engineering, Superior Plumbing andWolfers Lighting. If you or your firm is interested in donating building materials and/or services, please contact construction manager Green Leaf Constructionat firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ceremony itself was generously sponsored by New Balance with donations from Owen and Ollie’s, Lenzi Catering, Add-A-Sign, Jennifer Hammond Photography and Perfecto’s Caffe.
Survivors interested in learning more about the assistance available to them should contact the Boston Survivors Accessibility Alliance athttp://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dps/the-boston-survivors-accessibility-alliance-bsaa.html or by calling the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety at (617) 727-3200.