Local 144 Brother Matt Parziale to compete in the Masters
Brockton firefighter Matt Parziale takes his shot in the Masters field this week
After all, Bobby Jones, the most accomplished amateur golfer the game has ever known, was the founder and co-designer of Augusta and co-founder of the Masters.
Many of the amateurs who have participated in The Masters have gone on to become professionals, but with the 82nd edition about to get underway Thursday, a different type of amateur is garnering attention.
Brockton firefighter Matt Parziale is there competing for the green jacket, having earned his invitation by winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur in October, and he’s making the most of his newfound fame.
“For some reason, everyone loves firefighters, so they want to hear the story,” Parziale, who works on Ladder 1 for the city of nearly 100,000 more known for boxing than golf, said shortly after arriving in Augusta. “I’ve had fun with it. I’ve done a lot of things I hadn’t before, so it’s been great.”
In an attempt to keep his competitive game sharp over the winter, Parziale took a leave of absence from work. He competed throughout the Southeastern U.S., Bermuda and in January picked up a top-10 finish at the South American Amateur in Buenos Aires.
His win at the Mid-Am also gave him a spot in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in June, the U.S Amateur at Pebble Beach in August and the Mid-Am in October.
Parziale said support inside the department has been strong.
“The chief (Michael Williams) has been awesome, the mayor (Bill Carpenter) has been so supportive,” he said. “The fire department and city have been great about taking a leave, and whatever I’ve needed they’ve helped out.”
Before Masters week got started on Monday, Parziale had been able to get on the course nearly 10 times.
“It’s getting better each time I play it. I don’t think TV does it justice,” he said. “It’s definitely getting firmer and faster each day.
“I’m just trying to take it all in. I’ve had a great local caddie – I’ve had him every day. He’s been here for a long time and he’s caddied a few Masters himself, so it was great to spend a few days with him. I’m just trying to see as much as possible, hit as many shots as possible and it’s been fun. You’ve got to be creative out there and I’ve always loved that part of the game. It tests you the whole way around.”
Parziale, 30, intended to stay on the Augusta grounds Monday night following the annual amateur dinner, but expects to spend the rest of tournament week with fiance Ali Hubbard and father Vic, who retired as a captain from the fire department after 32 years in November. His dad will be caddying for his son, who will also be cheered by a group of members from their home club of Thorny Lea in Brockton who rent the same house every year.
Could Parziale pull off a stunner and win?
The firefighter-turned-golfer said he does not have any expectations for the week, but Bovada lists him with 2,000-to-1 odds, the same as former champions Jose Maria Olazabal and Mike Weir.
Parizale will be paired with Weir and Brendan Steele when the trio tees off at 8:52 a.m. on Thursday
In the last 60 years, the two best opening rounds for an amateur have been posted by golfers with Massachusetts ties. Jim Hallet of South Yarmouth opened with a 4-under 68 in 1983 and had a share of the lead midway through the second round before finishing tied for 40th overall and being awarded the Silver Cup as the low amateur. James Driscoll of Brookline, whom Parziale played with a bit this past winter in Florida, matched the 68 in 2001.
Looking ahead, Parziale said that he will compete in a couple events in Florida before heading north for next month’s Mass. Golf Four-Ball, which he has teamed with Herbie Aikens to win the last two years.
He will not be able to participate in the Mass. Open because it is during the practice days of the U.S. Open, but will defend his titles in both the Mass. Amateur and Ouimet Tournament.
The following was an op ed to the Patriot Ledger on Saturday March 10, 2018 by PFFM Pres. Rich MacKinnon
Legislature needs to protect firefighters
In2014, Plymouth firefighter Anthony Colarusso, 38, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer; a type of cancer that a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked to firefighting. An 8-year veteran of the fire department, Colarusso had accrued 93 shifts of sick leave as he and his wife, Christina, faced months of doctors appointments and grueling treatments.
He very quickly exhausted his earned medical leave and vacation days.
Though his union and firefighters across the state begged the town to provide coverage for Colarusso in his time of need for a man who devoted his life to helping others in need, no aid was forthcoming.
For 93 days, he went without a paycheck or health insurance while fighting a cancer likely caused by occupational exposure. Then just 15 months after receiving his diagnosis, Anthony Colarusso, who was also a U.S. Navy veteran, died at the age of 39.
It is easy to see the dangers and health risks confronted by firefighters by reading a newspaper or simply turning on the nightly news. But, firefighters are confronted by even greater risks.
The leading cause of line of duty deaths among firefighters is cancer.
The multi-year CDC study found higher rates of certain types of cancer among firefighters than in the general population. It’s believed occupational exposure to chemicals and other toxins puts firefighters at increased risk of being diagnosed and dying from certain cancers. The study also found that firefighters were younger than expected when diagnosed with certain cancers.
Nationwide, firefighters are 9 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 14 percent more likely to die of cancer than the general public. Firefighters have a 62 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer, are diagnosed with testicular cancer and mesothelioma twice as much as the general population, and contract multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, skin, brain, prostate and colon cancers almost one and a half times more frequently than non firefighters.
Cancer is a line-of-duty death for firefighters.
Over the past two years, 235 active firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer, 107 were able to return to work, 99 were forced to retire, and 29 succumbed to their illness.
While Massachusetts law acknowledges these cancers are job-related as it pertains to retirement, there is a gap in the law large enough to drive a fire engine through. A firefighter who injures a knee while fighting a fire has greater coverage and protections than one who contracts cancer from the products of that same fire. Like our fellow “jake” Anthony Colarusso, after their sick time runs out, so does their coverage.
Throughout the fire service, efforts are being made to reduce the instances of cancer that are killing our firefighters, but action must be taken to alleviate the hardships taken on by our brave brothers and sisters and their families as they work to regain their health. New practices like washing gear and decontaminating equipment and apparatus are being embraced by fire departments across the state. Additional gear and new technologies are being utilized to protect firefighters from dangerous carcinogens at fire scenes. However, nothing has been done to ensure firefighters are afforded the time and health care necessary to become well.
Legislation is now on Beacon Hill that would treat cancer among firefighters as a work-related injury. Nearly 40 states have already passed similar legislation. This important bill would put in place the necessary protections to allow firefighters with cancer, people like Anthony Colarusso, to receive the care they need without adding additional and unnecessary strains on them and their families.
For every motor vehicle accident, every overdose, every time an elder calls about something as simple as a chirping smoke detector, firefighters answer the call. It is a firefighter’s duty to protect those in need. Now firefighters need the Legislature to protect them.
Richard MacKinnon Jr. is president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.
He lives in Whitman and works for the local fire department.
RICHARD MACKINNON JR.
By Marc Larocque
July 27. 2016 11:57AM
Brockton school committee member, retired firefighter, dies at 69
Wayne McAllister, a retired firefighter and school committee member, is being remembered as a mentor and community leader in Brockton. McAllister died on Tuesday after a long bout with cancer. He was 69.
PHOTO/ J. Kiely Jr./The Enterprise
Brockton Planning Board member Wayne McAllister died on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, after a long bout with cancer. He was 69. In this picture, taken on Oct. 2, 2005, McAllister, sang "Amazing Grace" during the domestic violence vigil at Brockton's Christ Congregational Church in remembrance of victims of domestic violence Sunday afternoon.
BROCKTON – Wayne McAllister, who was the first African-American to hold elected office in Brockton, is being remembered for his service as a city firefighter for more than 30 years and as a civic leader known for his frank, thoughtful stances on issues facing the community.
“The one thing I can take solace in, after his passing, is knowing how many people he’s touched and helped,” said Sara Keough, one of his daughters. “He had pride in the city. He loved it here. He was willing to do anything for the residents of the city. That was basically his passion.”
McAllister, who remained on the Brockton Planning Board and the Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School Committee, died surrounded by family at his Brockton home on Tuesday after a long bout with cancer. He was 69.
Keough said her father, who often got other parents involved with community endeavors, such as forming a basketball team at the Arnone School, would never be afraid to speak his mind on issues of education, diversity and access to resources. When he addressed a problem, he researched it thoroughly and didn’t mince words when giving his opinion, said Keough and others.
“He said it like it is,” Keough said. “He had a way of saying things that was direct and to the point. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily rude. But it was frank. And often it was a little funny. That took the sting off, but you got his point, which I think is what made him likable. ... He always had a way with words.”
Former colleagues at the Brockton Fire Department recalled how McAllister taught them the trade. Archie Gormley, president of the Brockton Firefighters Local 144 union, was one of several people who referred to McAllister as a mentor.
“What he meant to the younger members was, when we came on, especially myself, he was looking out for us,” Gormley said. “He took us under his wing. He showed us what it was all about. He was able to make us understand how the fire department ran, and how we should act, and how we should behave, and what are our responsibilities.”
Gormley said the Brockton Fire Department mourns the death of McAllister, who is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, for which he received an honorable discharge. Gormley also thanked McAllister for his contributions to the firefighters union, as a former vice president for Local 144.
“It’s a loss for all us,” Gormley said. “I learned a lot from him, not only about being a firefighter, but about union representation ... to protect all our benefits and everything that firefighters fought for in the past. ... He was a great community activist.”
Gormley said too many firefighters are dying from cancer.
“People don’t realize this, but that’s the one disease that’ll take most of the firefighters' lives throughout their career,” he said. “I feel very deeply about his family and their loss. We’ll continue to help them in any way we can.”
McAllister was the first African-American elected to office in Brockton, as a representative for the city on the school committee for Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, said friend and fellow planning board member Ollie Spears. McAllister served as a Brockton representative on the regional school committee since 2002, and remained on the committee until his death.
As a member of the Brockton Planning Board, McAllister was among a group of public officials who were named personally as defendants in a $82.8 million lawsuit filed in 2012 by Brockton Power, after the company was blocked from building a gas-fired power plant in the city. McAllister was the only one from the group of defendants who remained in office when Brockton Power dismissed individual defendants named in the lawsuit.
McAllister was also active with the Brockton Chapter NAACP, and was a member of the mayor’s crime and drug task force. McAllister also ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 4 City Council seat in 2005.
Through it all, McAllister was a "straight shooter," Spears said.
"Wayne was a mentor to me, personally and politically," said Spears, who remains on the Brockton Planning Board. "Wayne told it how it is, didn't hold back and stood his ground. This is what I admired about him."
A wake is scheduled for this Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Russell and Pica Funeral Home, 165 Belmont St., in Brockton. A burial with U.S. military honors will be held on Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
BROCKTON FIREFIGHTERS PIPES AND DRUMS
ROAD RACE RESULTS
1st PLACE MALE JOE REGO 19:52
1ST PLACE FEMALE ANDREA SAWLER 21:31
2ND PLACE MALE WESLEY DWYER 20:03
2ND PLACE FEMALE MEGAN ONEIL 24:56
3RD PLACE MALE JAMES CAMPBELL 20:26
3RD PLACE FEMALE KELLEY TRAVERS 25:54
1ST PLACE AGE DIVISIONS
15 & UNDER MALE RICO PALANZA 29:38
15 & UNDER FEMALE ABIGAIL KRIM 30:02
15-19 MALE PADEN PALANZA 21:34
15-19 FEMALE TAYLER GALLIGAN 42:17
20-29 MALE EDWARD TWOLIG 20:47
20-29 FEMALE KELLY TRAVERS 25:54
30-39 MALE MATT MCDONALD 27:04
30-39 FEMALE ANDREA SAWLER 21:31
40-49 MALE JOE REGO 19:52
40-49 FEMALE LAURA KRIM 32:52
50-59 MALE KEN TOLSON 23:21
50-59 FEMALE KIM TOLSON 46:45
60 & OVER FEMALE LISA GARCEN 51:53
ROAD RACE RESULTS FIREFIGHTER DIVISION
1ST PLACE BROCKTON FIREFIGHTER MALE: JAMES CAMPBELL 20:26
1ST PLACE VISITING FIRE FIGHTER MALE: WESLEY DWYER 20:03
1ST PLACE BROCKTON FIREFIGHTER COMPANY TEAM CHALLENGE SQUAD A
TONY BOWEN, DAN SANTRY, STEVE MCLEAN TEAM AVERAGE- 21:49