BOSTON (CBS) – Engine 33, Ladder 15 is a firehouse dear to Anne Coughlin’s heart.
“I miss my dad every single day. I have two kids he never got to meet,” Coughlin said. “He was a wonderful dad and a sweet and gentle person.”
Firefighter Richard Magee, hero and father of six, is still remembered.
“It’s very moving to see the ways that my dad and the men who died with them are remembered because it was a long time ago, and people’s memories fade, but it was an extraordinary loss for the city and also for nine families, an irreplaceable loss that we still feel today,” Coughlin said.
On Father’s Day, 1972, Coughlin was 9-years-old.
She recalls her father leaving early for work because he knew his brothers needed him.
“He drove off that day and we just never saw him again,” she said.
Nine firefighters, now honored in the memorial on Commonwealth Avenue, lost their lives when the Vendome Hotel collapsed without warning.
“I’ll never forget that day … nine caskets in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Driving through Boston in the pouring rain… the streets, lined with firefighters,” Coughlin said.
Decades and hundreds of miles later, Coughlin is getting ready to run the Boston Marathon for the Boston Fire Department Relief Fund.
“The Fire Department Relief Fund provides health coverage for firefighters for important cancer screenings that often insurance won’t cover – incredibly enough – and as much as I understand the physical day to day dangers of firefighting with what happened to my dad … a terrible danger to firefighters is cancer because so many of the fires they fight now involve plastics, chemicals, really dangerous substances they inhale or are exposed to, and so providing these cancer screenings is essential lifesaving healthcare.” Coughlin said.
This marks her first time running the Boston Marathon.
She says her dad loved to run, too.
“And I think he would have probably loved to run the marathon,” she said.
With each step, Coughlin feels closer to him.
“A lot of times in my training the number 33 crops up a lot and I just see it in unexpected places so I do feel like he’s with me in this,” she said.
Her brother, Richard Magee Jr. is a Boston Fire Chief. Her grandfather and uncle were also firefighters.
The firehouse is on the last turn of the marathon.
“To get to run by this firehouse and feel connected to my dad and honor his memory is just going to be a tremendous feeling,” she said.
As soon as she crosses that finish line, she plans to come to the Vendome memorial and place her medal right next to the helmet, above her father’s name.
“For the things that you want to do in life, do them now,” she said.
Coughlin has raised more than $8,000 for the Boston Fire Department Relief Fund.
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