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Everyday Legends: The Winners

We launched the Everyday Legends Campaign to celebrate the heroes among us who have made a positive impact throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

We’ve always maintained that there is no effort too small. Our goal was to recognize (and reward) the people in our city who have stood up in the face of adversity, in more ways than one.

Each of the 10 winners below is an Everyday Legend. It’s time you knew their stories. 


Nominated by her friend, Ayobami Idowu, who had the following to say: 

While completing a Masters of Education at Harvard, raising 4 wonderful children and a beautiful dog, she has managed to dedicate countless hours to the refugee community as well as bring food to food banks in Chelsea to help those who suffer for the most basic needs during this pandemic. 

In the middle of this, she was sick as was her husband and yet she always has an optimistic outlook and always motivates those who surround her. She is a true warrior in every sense of the word. I can’t think of anyone more deserving!


Nominated by her son’s girlfriend, Meranda Peou, who had the following to say: 

Monica is my boyfriend’s mother and she is also a second grade teacher in Rockland, MA. Due to covid-19, Monica, like many other teachers, has been teaching from home and I have gotten a glimpse of her everyday routine. 

She is such a hard worker and really has been going the extra mile for her students to give them a sense of normality while learning from home. I can tell that her students love and miss being in the classroom with her. She’s not only an amazing teacher, but she’s an even better mom and friend!


Nominated by his friend, Joseph Belovich, who had the following to say: 

As an owner of Johnson Compounding & Wellness in Waltham and Birds Hill Pharmacy in Needham, John was quick to initiate protocol to protect both his employees and clients at the onset of the pandemic, but as a person, he took his efforts beyond the pharmacy doors. 

Once the FDA approved pharmacies to produce their own sanitizer, John’s first concern was to donate supply to neighboring first responders in Waltham, Watertown, and Needham. His next concern was to ensure that local business’ had first access to high demand supplies necessary to remain open for the public. And as a Fenway resident, he was quick to consider his neighbors too, offering bottles of sanitizer to residents at a time when it was hardest to come by. 

It is not uncommon to find John driving around Fenway at 10pm, tirelessly making after-hours deliveries of medication and supplies so his neighbors don’t have to leave the safety of their homes. In these above and beyond actions, John has been of great service to his Fenway community and beyond. They will remember his service, they will remember his name, and that is what defines a legend.


Nominated by her friend, Mia Healy-Waldro, who had the following to say: 

When a new restaurant, The Quiet Few, opened down the street last year, Kelly was quick to recognize that the owner was a kindred spirit. At the onset of the pandemic, Kelly saw the inevitable crisis that the local business community was being confronted with, and she simply had to do something. They could not fail. 

She set up an Instagram account @bagsforsmallbiz. She had never embroidered before, but she could personally attest to the demand for customized apparel. She resolved to embroider bags with personalized messages and sell them for $25 each, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Quiet Few staff fund.

In a matter of weeks, orders were no longer just from friends and family but from people she did not know with requests for bags, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. In between supporting her friends and family virtually while in isolation and maintaining her work in corporate communications, Kelly hand-stitched dozens of items. Not two months later, she has almost raised an astounding $3,000 and counting for The Quiet Few staff fund.

Kelly’s embroidering was featured in the East Boston Times, in which she chalks the greatness of @bagsforsmallbiz up to the shared “desire that people are feeling right now to help if we can.” But to love your neighbors like that, to no personal benefit, is extraordinary.


Nominated by her husband, Sergio Villar, who had the following to say: 

Ashley has been working days and nights during the pandemic not only treating dozens of adult and children COVID-19 patients but also advocating for children of patients who were left without care due to their parents’ illness. 

She also wrote an op-ed in the WaPo about the issue. Her grandpa got infected and hospitalized, and she took full charge of the communication between his healthcare providers and family from almost 3,000 miles away, on top of her job caring directly for patients. She also gave me an awesome haircut last week. 


Nominated by the Fenway Civic Association which had the following to say: 

Fran has been a stellar advocate for The Fenway’s open space, acting as chair of the Muddy River Restoration and Oversight Committee. She has been a resource for this project, which has needed to continue its progress. 


Nominated by his sister, Natalie Breen, who had the following to say: 

My younger brother, Pat, has been a bagger at Stop & Shop for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a person with Autism, Pat can struggle with sensory overload and thrives on route and habit. 

This new shock of long lines, mad rushes, fear, tension, and changes to the norm has undoubtedly rocked his boat, but he continues to grow and adapt. He shows up every shift ready to work. He is the epitome of strength. While this is a scary time for many, Pat reminds me he is ‘helping to feed the community’ and truly understands the importance of his role. 

You do not need a degree or big title to make a difference (though we are SO thankful to those that do!), but he proves that anyone can help and we are all important when it comes to working together.


Nominated by the Fenway Civic Association which had the following to say: 

Ellen is a project coordinator and arborist for the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. Despite the pandemic shutting down the city, Ellen has kept important projects on track that benefit the neighborhood, whether that’s planting trees along Park Drive, ensuring that Muddy River and Back Bay Fens maintenance projects continue, or planning improvements for the Kelleher Rose Garden.


Nominated by the Fenway Civic Association which had the following to say: 

We wanted to nominate Betsy for her contribution to the community, making fresh, local produce available for pick up at Neighborhood’s Coffee & Crepes during this unprecedented time.


Nominated by their neighbor in The Fenway, Sarah Nailor, who had the following to say: 

I became aware of Dennis and Rebecca Brown when I moved from another Boston neighborhood to The Fenway a little more than 16 years ago. I would see them at various neighborhood or community meetings, local eateries, etc. 

They have since started a family and have raised their sons, now 8 (Caden) and 5 (Silas), to be all-in community people. As a family they participate in their respective local Boston public schools, local sports, and have two plots in the Victory Garden. 

As a family they tend to the traffic rotary and surrounding land that is now in front of 401 Park. They plant hundreds of daffodil bulbs annually, and Caden uses their electronic lawn mower to cut the grass. They regularly pick up trash left by vehicular and pedestrian traffic. They don’t do this for notoriety, just to be good neighbors.

During the pandemic, they have volunteered to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables through the Fresh Boxes Fenway Cares initiative and reached out to neighbors to offer to food shop on an individual level. As they are currently home schooling, they walk the neighborhood and clear brush which has evolved into an outdoor remote learning opportunity as well as excellent public service.