by Rick Winterson

Willy Wilson, lovingly known  as “Mr. Hardware” of South Boston, experienced a true emergency at work, after he attended Grandparents Day at South Boston Catholic Academy.  His diabetic condition – first diagnosed when Willy had turned 30 – and the resulting neuropathy really flared up, making it necessary to amputate his left foot and part of his lower leg.  Willy is now in a wheelchair.  He has completed an arduous program at Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown.  In two weeks, he expects to be fitted with a prosthetic leg and foot.  His rehab will continue.

And Willy also undergoes dialysis three times a week.  His daughter Kristen started a Facebook group seeking to find a compatible replacement kidney for him.  Tommy McGrath spotted this Facebook entry and wanted to do something for Willy and his wife Chris, so he and Rob Pacitti began organizing volunteer efforts.  In addition to setting up a local “task force” to make changes to their second-floor residence on Marine Road, Tommy and Rob have organized a Friendship “Time”.  This will take place two weeks from now, on Saturday evening, October 26, 7 p.m. to midnight at Florian Hall (55 Hallet Street, Dorchester).  Please plan to attend.

During the interview with Willy, it was obvious that he is totally committed to getting his health back.  He, his wife Chris, and their children – Kristen, Mary (Rosher), and Will – all completely share in this commitment.  The support they have received, and will continue to receive, is a wonderful example of “giving back” that South Boston is so well known for.  But “giving back” goes in more than one direction.  Willy himself was a youth hockey coach for more than a dozen years, along with coaching Babe Ruth baseball for six.  He worked with Billy Finn, Mark Rooney, and Mike Cappellano.  His volunteer work influenced over 300 young athletes, and now he’s receiving volunteer help back.  It’s vivid proof of that old saying, “What goes ‘round, comes ‘round!”

In addition to being selfless local volunteers, these individuals are highly skilled craftsmen (licensed if required).  Please give them a call and ask them to bid on any craft work you might need around your home or your business.  They will appreciate being considered by you.

We referred to Willy as “Mr. Hardware” because he has been in the hardware business since he was 14 – almost 50 years, including owning (with Mike Medico) Flood Square Hardware back in the day.  And he plans to return when he gets back on his feet.  So don’t miss Willy’s Friendship “Time” on the 26th in Florian Hall.  At the end of this interview, Willy asked that we thank the whole community in advance for him and his family.

The list of those who helped Willy and Chris with the needed renovations to their home on Marine Road:

Ronnie Holmes – Carpentry, wall relocation.

Danny and Bobby Picard – Plumbing.

Chris Radcliffe and Sean Salvo – Tiling

Tommy Miller – Demolition, trash removal.

Paul Eastman – Electrical.

Tommy Casper – Plumber

Tommy Greene – Electrical, fans.

Drew Egan – Carpentry, finish.

Eddie Maher – Painting.