A member of the Dropkick Murphys, two kids with a lemonade stand and local business owners are among those who have pulled together to replace a sign in Dedham that honors a volunteer who died in 2004.
The town of Dedham honored the memory of Greg "Chickenman" Riley in 2006 by naming a playground, the Gregory M. Riley Playground at Paul Park, after him.
But last fall, the elaborate, engraved sign bearing his name was stolen. This act of vandalism, however, set off a chain of events that brought together people who had never met one another, or Riley, but felt bound to get involved and honor him once more.
The volunteers were crucial, since the town had no money in the budget for a new sign, Bob Stanley, assistant superintendent of Dedham parks, said in this Globe story.
"So it's nice for the community, and the Riley family, to know that all these people stepped up to the plate," Stanley said.
In the Dropkick Murphys' Web dedication to Riley, they say: "Okay, so what do you do when your best friend dies and you are at a loss? You try to keep his memory alive as best as you can." Then came the anthem, "Your Spirit -----.'' Corrected: "Your Spirit's Alive")
Now his family calls on the power of memory and philanthropy to do the same. His image, forever young, beckons from photos on the foundation's Web pages (www.chickenmangolf.com), evoking reminiscences from his sister.
"If you could just hear the laugh behind that smile," she said. "He could have been anyone's son or nephew. He was in a good place in his life" before the accident. As she gathered thoughts to describe her brother, Foley fought emotion.
"It's just too deep to sum up in a sound bite," she said eventually. "He is just an unforgettable guy."