By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – Hundreds of residents of all ages gathered on an unseasonably chilly morning July 14 at Ward Park as television station Boston 25 News broadcast from the city as part of its popular summer series, Zip Trips.
Each Friday during the summer months, the station’s anchors and other on air personnel broadcast from a different community to highlight some its people, groups and businesses that make it unique and special.
Early that morning, anchors Gene Lavanchy and Elizabeth (Lilly) Hopkins, meteorologist Shiri Spear and “Around Town” host Michele Lazcano, along with their production crews, set up at Ward Park near the Senior Center for the live broadcast.
Throughout the broadcast, enthusiastic residents of all ages (along with a few dogs) watched the show with many delighted with the opportunity to be seen on television themselves. The on-air personnel warmly greeted those who had come to watch, taking time to chat, sign autographs and pose for selfies.
Marlborough has been in the news for many reasons over the past few years as it makes a name for itself attracting large businesses such as GE Healthcare, TJX Companies and Quest Diagnostics. But it is the people of the city, the Boston 25 team said, that really made an impact on them.
Noting that so many had come out to watch the live show on a morning with less than ideal weather conditions was very impressive, Spear said.
“Everyone has been so nice and warm and welcoming,” she said. “We’re so touched by everyone’s friendliness. It makes it even more special, to be honest, that so many would still come out on a morning like this.”
Hopkins said that Marlborough had not been in the original plans for the summer’s Zip Trips. But when a snafu came up, leaving a hole in the schedule, Marlborough officials eagerly responded to a query from the station to see if they would be interested in hosting a Zip Trip.
“It all came together so quickly and so easily,” she said. “They were so easy to work with and so receptive. That doesn’t always happen. Everyone was just great to work with.”
Hopkins noted that the Boston 25 staff put a lot of time and research into the Zip Trips before they happen. They also do some filming beforehand to complement segments shown during the live broadcast.
“We love the chance to highlight some of these amazing people and groups,” she added.
During the show, Mayor Arthur Vigeant was interviewed by Lavanchy and longtime City Councilor Don Landers was featured in a segment with Lazcano.
Kathy Leonard and Cheryl Juaire, both of who have become passionate advocates for awareness surrounding the opioid crisis after each lost a son to an overdose, were honored during the Hometown Heroes segment.
Lavanchy spoke with Mike Matros, the founder of the Heroes Cup tournament that benefits first responders around the country. During the segment, Matros announced that the Boston Bruins will partnership with the tournament next year.
Several local restaurants, including Welly’s, Firefly’s BBQ and Kennedy’s Pub were also featured during the show.
Lavanchy also interviewed Charles Hirsch, communications and marketing manager for Special Olympics Massachusetts, who spoke about one of the organization’s biggest events of the year, the Tournament of Champions, which will be held Sat. Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27. Hirsch was accompanied by several Special Olympians from the nonprofit group, Thrive Support & Advocacy.
During the Salute to the Armed Forces segment Lavanchy interviewed Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, who is the executive director of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. And Lazcano spoke with Marlborough Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian LaCrois and Assistant Fire Chief Fred Flynn as part of the Firehouse Fridays segment, which, sponsored by Dunkin Donuts, honors local fire departments.
To see video clips from the show visit www.fox25boston.com/fox25cares/ziptrips.