Editor's Note: The following article was submitted by the Dedham Police Department.
On the Wednesday of school vacation week each year the Dedham Police sponsor a ski trip for Middle School age kids. This trip has been going on for close to 30 years and this year was no different.
The trip is organized by the Dedham Police through the School Resource Officer. It was started by Author Munchbach in the mid eighties through the D.A.R.E. program, since funding had been cut for such programs the Dedham Police continue the tradition through fundraising and support from many businesses within the community.
The Wednesday of this school vacation week was no different. At 5:30 a.m. fifty Middle School children arrived at the Middle School to begin the journey North to Gunstock Mountain.
Included on the trip was Diego Pedroza who arrived here from Mexico with his parents 2 weeks ago. Diego had never seen snow and speaks no English, School Resource Officer Ron Pucci could only say that he was the nicest, bravest person he had ever met. Many of the children like Diego had never skied before, for some it would be there only opportunity to ever try. There is a large group of kids that have been skiing for years and jump off the bus with skis and poles already attached to their feet and sail straight to the top of the Mountain.
Many of the chaperones have been skiing for years such as Oakdale School Principal Holly Armstrong and Officer Pucci. They offer great advise about skiing and most importantly show the kids the enjoyment of getting out and being active. Long time Dedham resident and former ski trip attendee Bobby O’Connell was also along to give the kids a hand. Bobby spent the entire day on the Mountian skiing with the kids and helping.
Officer Pucci praised him saying that he literally would give his shirt off his back for these kids. I ran into Matty buttlar on the Mountain who I had skied with earlier, at the time he had no hat or goggles, when I saw him next he had both, Bobby had given up his.
Officer Niel Cronin who specializes on helping the children who are in needs of lots of assistance over by the smaller slopes. This is the most important job if the right person isn’t there for them they can have a bad day Niel makes sure every child smiles.
The biggest smiles came from the kids when they saw Middle School Assistant Principal Margo Frazcek. It was nice for Margo to relax and enjoy the kids in a different setting. Sgt. Mike Feeley who makes the journey up just to be there for the most important part of the day, getting the equipment rented, the kids suited up and on to the Mountain. This is the most important and most difficult part of the day Sgt. Feeley who is an expert skier and been helping kids on the trip since the beginning.
There is always a small handful of kids who just don’t take to the cold, the snow and the sticks under their feet. For them watching Batman The Dark Knight on the way and going to dinner at McDonalds makes the day. When asked what makes the day for Officer Pucci he stated “ it’s not just the smiles but watching two kids in the morning who would never say two words to one another belly laugh together right through dinner that night. That makes my day “.