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Upton Vet Running Boston Marathon for Bereaved Military Families

James Maloney is running the Boston Marathon to help military families.

One might think that after serving 20 years in the military James Maloney has done more than his share of serving and giving back to others. But don't tell him that. The Upton resident and long time veteran of the Army and Army National Guard, is now working (and running) hard to raise funds for an organization near and dear to his heart—the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund.

On April 21, Maloney plans to run this year's Boston Marathon in an effort to raise funding for the organization. The Military Heroes Fund is dedicated to provide much needed support to the families of military personnel with ties to Massachusetts who have died during active duty post September 11.

The private, nonprofit organization has provided multiple services to bereaved military families offering such programs as limited emergency financial assistance; referrals for mental health providers, legal services, and financial planning; community support through both public and private events; and sending care packages, among others. They also bring together families who have lost someone serving. "'It helps them to know they're not alone," said Maloney.

Maloney's been involved in the organization for years and has seen firsthand what families go through when they've lost a loved one. Maloney himself served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and understands the gravity of losing a veteran. While serving, he lost three close friends. To honor the fallen heroes, he dedicated a special plaque engraved with their names, which now sits outside A Little Common Sense in Upton; he owns the building and rents it out to store owner Lisa Zani Stratton.

Maloney continues to serve in the Army and also works as a fire fighter for the Watertown Fire Department. Stratton has been a huge supporter of Maloney's. "He's such a wonderful guy. Always wanting to help others," she said.

A Little Common Sense, the Upton VFW, and Rebecca's Place 3 are sponsoring a Zumba Fitness event to help Maloney raise funding for his cause. The event is scheduled for March 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Upton VFW on Route 140. Registration begins at 6 p.m. Participants are being asked to donate $10 to take part.

With the marathon just months away, Maloney is trying to raise $1,000 for each family he has helped through the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund. To date, he's assisted nine families and recently was assigned to assist a tenth. "I'd like to raise between $9,000 and $10,000," he said.

Maloney admits he should be training more but is not overly worried about completing the 26.2 mile run, saying, "I'm definitely not going to win, but I think I'll finish it in about five, five in a half hours." To help him reach his goal, donations can be made online at


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