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South Boston Online
South Boston Online
  Friday, February 27, 2015
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South Boston Honors Jim Kelly
By Rick Winterson

     It began at 5 p.m. last Saturday, starting at the Farragut statue and stretching along Day Boulevard across from Marine Park and the bandstand.  It was cold, but no matter.  By departure time, somewhere between 75 and 100 cars filled with well-wishers had lined up.  A bannered pickup from Sheet Metal Workers Local #17 was prominent. 

     At 5:30, the motorcade departed for a circuit of South Boston, which ended at Jim Kelly’s home on Bantry Way.  Along the way, it proceeded along East Broadway, wound around the Heights, and headed down Sixth Street.  Green balloons festooned the cars; everyone along the way stopped to cheer.

     The main part of the motorcade stopped on Eighth Street, and the occupants walked over to Bantry Way.  Kelly was on his porch, aided by his children.  A cheer went up as he waved.  Many media were there.  In fact, there was a nice article about the motorcade in last Sunday’s Globe.

     Jim received several cards in the form of large posters covered with hundreds of signatures.  He was strongly affected by the display of support and affection.  When he managed to stammer out, “I love you all.”, the crowd responded with, “No, we love you, Jim.”  For a few moments, he choked up with emotion and for once, Jim Kelly was speechless.

     As everyone knows, Jim is recovering from cancer, and is undergoing chemotherapy.  This not only fatigues him, but also weakens his immune system.  As a result, he must be careful not expose himself to an infection, even a simple cold.  Nevertheless, when the crowd pressed forward, he shook hands and embraced many of those who came.

     On Friday, Jim became a recipient of the David G. Farragut Lifetime Public Service Award, given by the South Boston Citizens’ Association at its 2006 banquet.  This is only the third time in recent years the Farragut Award has been made.  The prior recent recipients were the late Congressman Joe Moakley and Mayor Thomas Menino.

     In his accustomed way, Jim Kelly had the last word at the Saturday motorcade.  As he turned to go back into his home, he said loudly and firmly, “You’ve added ten years to my life!”  And who knows?  Perhaps we did.

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Jim Kelly converses with his constituents who came to

salute him and wish him well

during his recovery.