Marlborough block party to benefit police officer battling cancer

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Catherine Digou is a 31-year MPD veteran who is currently battling cancer. Proceeds from this year’s Weed Street Block Party will benefit her. Photo/Submitted
Catherine Digou is a 31-year MPD veteran who is currently battling cancer. Proceeds from this year’s Weed Street Block Party will benefit her.
Photo/Submitted

MARLBOROUGH – Many highlights of 2019’s inaugural Weed Street Block Party hosted by the Marlborough Police Department (MPD) are returning Saturday, Aug. 28, at 1 p.m. 

This year’s proceeds will benefit Officer Catherine Digou, a 31-year MPD veteran who is currently battling cancer.

Organized by the Marlborough Police Patrol Officer Association, the event is once again chaired by Detective Pat Hogan. 

When Hogan began planning this year’s event, Digou was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. She’s undergoing treatment for stage 4 cancer, Hogan noted.

“Cathy is typically the person who’s helping other people,” he shared. “That’s why everybody is stepping up now that it’s her turn to need help.”

Inaugural block party

The first block party benefitted MPD’s K-9 unit. Digou was among the fundraiser’s volunteers.

Sgt. Ken McKenzie and Meiko at the 2019 MPD Weed Street Block Party Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.
Sgt. Ken McKenzie and Meiko at the 2019 MPD Weed Street Block Party
Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.

“Cathy was there, setting up tables and chairs all day,” Hogan relayed.

At that 2019 event, the MPD publicly introduced its then-newly acquired K-9, Meiko. Block party guests got the chance to meet Meiko and handler Sgt. Ken McKenzie.

MPD’s former K-9, Kaiser, was nearing retirement after serving for six years. Meiko was training at the Boston Police K-9 Academy toward graduating in December of 2019.

“At the time, the expenses doubled with two dogs,” Hogan explained. “The block party was successful enough that we didn’t need to fundraise last year. We were actually surprised by how many people showed up and how much money we raised.”

Event’s law enforcement links

Angry Tony and the Homewreckers bandmates (l to r) Mark “Skippy” Johnson, Detective Pat Hogan, Billy Claire and retired Lt. Col. Anthony Abdal-Khabir Photo/Submitted
Angry Tony and the Homewreckers bandmates (l to r) Mark “Skippy” Johnson, Detective Pat Hogan, Billy Claire and retired Lt. Col. Anthony Abdal-Khabir
Photo/Submitted

This year’s block party will also feature a meet and greet with Meiko and McKenzie.

“Everybody loves police dogs,” Hogan noted. “The meet and greet is good community relations.”

In addition to overseeing activities as the event chair, Hogan will play rhythm guitar and sing with Angry Tony and the Homewreckers. 

Another Homewreckers’ link to law enforcement is retired Lt. Col. Anthony Abdal-Khabir of the Massachusetts Environmental Police on harmonica. They’re joined by two musicians who are also well-known as bandmates of The Allens: lead guitarist and vocalist Billy Claire and drummer Mark “Skippy” Johnson.

More first responders will be represented in the band Larry Bee and the Buzz. 

Larry Bee and the Buzz bandmates (l to r) Mike Ferro, retired chief dispatcher Larry Bastien, Tom Brodeur and retired EMT and firefighter Mickey Grasso; not pictured is Paul Rizzo Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.
Larry Bee and the Buzz bandmates (l to r) Mike Ferro, retired chief dispatcher Larry Bastien, Tom Brodeur and retired EMT and firefighter Mickey Grasso; not pictured is Paul Rizzo
Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.

The Buzz’s lead singer is Larry Bastien, a retired chief dispatcher with the Marlborough police and fire departments. The band’s lead guitarist is Mickey Grasso, a retired EMT and firefighter with the Marlborough Fire Department. Other bandmates are drummer Tom Brodeur, keyboardist Paul Izzo and Commander Mike Ferro of the American Legion Post 132 on bass guitar.

The entertainment lineup will also feature the band Late Bus and Irish step dancers.

Eat, drink and play for a good cause

Food trucks from Kith and Kin, Fork‘N Delicious as well as Juniper Farms Ice Cream will be stationed onsite. Guests can quench their thirst at beer tents along with Margarita Man beverages. Planned activities include raffle tables, cornhole games and the Ultimate Mobile Gaming truck.

Hogan is looking forward to another successful MPD Weed Street Block Party.

“We’re hoping to raise enough money so that Cathy can stay home, get better and spend time with her family,” he said. “It’s going to be a great, fun day.”

Admission is $10 per person. Reserved table options are offered for $100, $125 and $150. Tickets are available online at Eventbrite at “MPD Weed Street Block Party Cathy Digou Fundraiser” or by emailing Hogan at phogan@marlborough-ma.gov.

 

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