By: Connie Molinaro – December, 2012
Saturday November 24th you could not have asked for a nicer morning! The air was crisp with fall air we all love in New England and the sun was poking her rays through the start of gloomy skies. No matter what the weather, the crowds were starting to form at the Salisbury Fire Department so that we could all take part in the 2nd Annual Timmy Trot 5k for their fallen hero, Lt. Timothy Oliveira.
Lt. Timothy Oliveira died after a tragic incident at the firehouse in August of 2011. Tim had a smile for everyone, was a great firefighter, mechanic, but most importantly, an amazing father and husband.
Tim’s family started this race the year he passed away and proceeds benefit various local community organizations. Some of the proceeds from last year’s race went to the new kitchen at the firehouse. Cabinets, counters and appliances were all replaced so that these firefighters could make a meal and gather with each other during their shifts. According to Nicole Oliveira, Tim’s oldest daughter, “the guys keep it real clean too! I think they know my dad would have been telling them to ‘clean it up’ if they didn’t.”
Signs of Lt. Oliveira and his presence are still at this station from his turnout coat and equipment made into a dedication box, to the clock and wind chime that still hang in his office. “My dad was such a big part of this station and community and it is so nice to see all these people turn out for him.”
Some of the proceeds from this year’s race will go to benefit the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (www.biama.org). Mrs. Oliveira also has donated funds to local community needs, as a way of sharing her husband with their town.
This was a milestone race for me this year, in the respect that I had a cancer diagnosis this past March. I had not trained for this race this year as I had surgery and then chemo treatments.
But my chemo ended just two weeks before this wonderful event and as I speed walked through the course, all I could think about was what an honor it was to be there-cancer free-and alive. I wanted to slow down my pace a few times, but felt a gentle nudge at my back, pushing me further to the end.
As it turns out, I finished 7 minutes faster this year and when I saw my friend Nicole, I broke down and cried. Maybe it was from relief that I finished, or maybe it was because I truly wanted to do this for Niki, Kaylie and Pam to honor their loved one, and I didn’t think I would make it this year. Whatever the reason, the relief I felt in my tears and the kind loving words Niki whispered to me, made me realize that life is precious.
We need to take each day we have as a gift and give back to those who need us. So every year myself and my co-workers from Children’s Hospital will continue to do this race for the love we have for Nicole and her family and to make sure they feel our love and support for this amazing cause and pay tribute to a courageous man. God Speed Lt. Timothy Oliveira, you are missed.