Red Letter Day
Boston College Community Turns Out To Honor Welles Remy Crowther
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 23:10
On Saturday morning, members of the Boston College community gathered by the golden eagle outside of Gasson Hall for the start of the Welles Remy Crowther Red Bandanna 5k. The ninth annual race celebrated the life of Welles Crowther, a ’99 BC grad and varsity lacrosse player who died on Sept. 11, 2001, saving the lives of others. Welles’ family and friends, along with BC alumni, students, and members of the local community joined to celebrate Welles’ memory.
The Red Bandanna run supports the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust, a fund that recognizes and awards academic and athletic excellence in young people, through scholarships and support of non-profit organizations. Over 1,600 people turned out to this year’s race to honor Welles’ courageous actions and support the trust.
“We had 1,198 people pre-register for the run, 837 of those were students,” said Kate Daly, assistant director of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC). “We estimate between 250 and 300 people registered on race-day, although I don’t have that exact number … The number of people who crossed the finish line, according to RaceWire, was 1,152.”
Members of the BC community also volunteered at the event, including students in Appalachia Volunteers, the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, the men’s baseball team, and even a BC mom whose daughter usually runs the race but is studying abroad this semester.
Chris Knoth and Dan Klemer, co-captains of the men’s lacrosse team and A&S ’14, have volunteered at the Red Bandanna run since their freshman year.
“It’s really big for us,” Knoth said. “We have a red bandanna game, and all the funds from the game go to the Welles Crowther foundation. We do an honorable No. 19—Welles’ number—for a senior that best embodies Welles. We all have bandannas in our bags and on our helmets.”
“We have the utmost respect for the Crowthers and it’s great, because they really respect us,” Klemer said. “I think the race helps us relive Welles’ memory, and honor him exactly how he should be honored … Welles embodied the idea of men and women for others more than anybody else. He gave his life for others and embodied the ideals of the school, as well as the team mentality.”
The Red Bandanna run began in 2004, with around 300 runners crossing Linden Lane. The race has since raised thousands of dollars for the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust. While the event is the largest fundraiser for the Crowther trust, Daly said its main purpose is to honor Welles’ life and legacy.
“We talk a lot at BC about men and women for others and that was what Welles did,” Daly said. “He truly was a man for others … We can support this day and the Welles Crowther trust but then it becomes about integrating Welles’ spirit into our own lives. How do we treat each other and how do we take care of each other?”
The event ran similarly to years past, with the only major change being the installation of RaceWire, a program that provides electronic timing and online registration for road races in New England. Runners clad in red bandannas looped around Lower Campus and up to Beacon Street on early Saturday morning. Volunteers and spectators cheered as the runners crossed the finish line at the end of Linden Lane.
“The race was a great success, and not only because of how much money was raised for the Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust,” Daly said. “I think what makes it such a successful and special tradition here at Boston College is how it brings together Welles’ family, friends, BC students, alumni, families, and the local community. So many people are touched by Welles’ story and his incredible sacrifice on September 11th. The run is a chance for us all to honor him as a community and to celebrate Welles and his legacy.”