A Newport, RI native was honored last night (May 10th, 2017) when the Boston Celtics faced off against the Washington Wizards in the NBA Playoffs.
Dr. James O’Connell was honored during the game as a Hero Among Us by Massachusetts State Lottery and the Boston Celtics. T
O’Connell, a native of Newport, was born in 1948, the second child of James J. and Anne Hayes O’Connell of Newport. His father, a World War II veteran, was a civilian worker at Newport’s Navy Base, his mother was a teacher and then a stay-at-home mom to O’Connel and his five siblings.
The Heroes Among Us program is one of the premier community outreach programs in professional sports. Established as an initiative of the Boston Celtics in 1997, Heroes Among Us honors individuals who have made an overwhelming impact on the lives of others.
O’Connell is not your typical doctor. For more than 30 years, he has provided health care to Boston’s homeless population as a street doctor with the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), a nonprofit he has led since 1985.
Since 1985, BHCHP‘s mission has remained the same: to provide or assure access to the highest quality health care for all homeless men, women and children in the greater Boston area.
Recognized as a skilled caregiver, O’Connell has received countless awards for his expertise on homelessness and his program is used to educate health organizations around the world. Employing 350 specialists in more than 80 locations, BHCHP serves more than 12,000 homeless individuals living in Boston each year.
In 2009, O’Connel was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall Of Fame.
The Boston Celtics provided the following photos from the event. Pictured: O’Connell receives a warm welcome from the TD Garden crowd before having a photo taken with Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, left, and Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat, right, and guard Tomás Satoranský, far right. (Photo Credit: Boston Celtics)