BOSTON – The Boston Celtics and the Massachusetts Army National Guard partnered to hold the 6th Annual Seats for Soldiers Night during the Charlotte Bobcats game Jan. 14, 2013 at the TD Garden here.
The event was the result of the collective generosity of season-ticket holders who donated their tickets so that a member of the military and a guest could enjoy an exciting night of basketball as the Celtics beat the Bobcats 100 to 89.
One fan sitting courtside who personified the event was Templeton resident Spc. Roger Sweeney, 747 Military Police Company, Massachusetts Army National Guard. Sweeney and his wife Nicole scored courtside seats right next to the backboard and Sweeney was seen on TV shaking hands with Rajon Rondo after Rondo hit a layup in the first quarter.
Before tip off, Sweeney was a Jumbotron favorite dancing to the delight of fans and raising the level of excitement. Later, Sweeney became Fan of the Game as fans voted for their favorite with loud and boisterous cheers while watching clips of Sweeney dancing.
Expressing his delight with the game Sweeney said, “It’s amazing, the generosity and support of people here is just amazing.”
Another Guardsman at the game also received a distinguished honor. The Celtics and the Massachusetts State Lottery honored Sgt. Eileen Boyle as a Hero Among Us. Boyle earned the distinction because of her efforts to prevent a woman who was standing on the Comeau Bridge in Haverhill, contemplating suicide Oct. 25, 2012
That day, Boyle was on her way home from a National Guard training event that focused on teaching all Massachusetts National Guardsmen how to prevent suicide.
To honor Boyle, she was called out to center court as an announcer broadcast her story over the loud speaker. Fans applauded her as she waived to them and was highlighted on the Jumbotron.
After the presentation Boyle said, “It was an honor to receive this award and people were coming up afterward to congratulate me. It was nice to so many military members here. It’s so different being here than watching on TV.”
Humbly, Boyle also said she does not seek the spotlight but understood the significance of why she was honored for preventing a suicide. “I get why they are doing it, it’s a very important thing to talk about,” said Boyle.
Boyle was seated courtside and also got to meet Boston Bruin Brad Marchand and have her picture taken with him.
Four other Massachusetts Guardsmen were recognized for outstanding achievement on the court for earning the title of distinguished honor graduate at their respective Army Advanced Individual Training sites.
The Soldiers honored were: Pfc. Timothy Carey, a military policeman from Ashland; Pvt. Santigo Giraldo, a motor transport operator from Lowell; Pvt. Kyle Demolles, a wheeled vehicle mechanic from Middleboro; and Pvt. Tyler Citarella, a wheeled vehicle mechanic from Rutland.
The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment (Selected Honor Guard) supported the opening by presented the colors. Their members at the game were: Sgt. Roger Pilat from Dedham; Spc. Christopher Graham from Quincy; Spc. Brendan Canary from Taunton; and Spc. Jeffrey Ortega from Salem.