Micky Ward dropped the gloves to guest bartend at McGreevy’s to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Friday night. The funds will be used to give kids a free trip to an adaptive summer camp in New Hampshire.
“This is great, whatever I can do to try and help the cause I’m all for it. I’m happy to be here to raise money for the MDA,” said Ward, a Charlestown native.
People were eager to mingle and mix-it-up with the former Welterweight champ, who has gained more recognition after being portrayed on the silver screen by Mark Wahlberg in the 2010 movie “The Fighter.”
Ward was part of McGreevy’s summer-long guest bartending promotion.
“Micky is a friend of the bar, he’s been here before, and we are thrilled to have him back,” said Shannon Emerson Finks, director of business development and marketing for McGreevy’s.
Fans file in
The boxer made several trips from behind the bar to sign autographs and to pose for photos with excited fans.
“We were having dinner next door and we saw that Micky was here and that brought us in,” said Peter Duggan.
Tammy Tengco and Patrick Lindie were visiting from New York City and described meeting Ward as “a real treat.”
Intrigued by the sign outside of McGreevy’s, Katie McParland came in to meet Ward and help donate to the MDA by filling up a fireman’s boot with tips.
“I wanted to help fill up the boot,” said McParland, who said it was an easy way to donate to charity by buying beer.
Firefighters also helped out
Joining Ward behind the bar were two members of Boston Fire Fighters Local 718 on Columbus Ave.: Gerry Grealish from Engine 7 and Shawn Michael Brown from Engine 28.
Grealish has been a fan of boxing his whole life and fought in seven professional bouts before becoming a firefighter.
“I’ve known Micky for a few years now and when the MDA called [to guest bartend] I said ‘absolutely’,” Grealish said.
He attends different fundraisers and events, but the MDA is the largest and impacts a lot of children.
“Helping out kids and giving them a chance to do what it is they want to do makes a world of difference,” he said.
When asked to bartend beside Ward, Brown also couldn’t pass up the chance.
“It’s pretty surreal,” he said. “I used to watch him fight when I was a kid.”
Brown joked he was going to make a special drink for the night called “Micky Ward’s Knockout Punch,” but that the ingredients would be a secret.
Sending kids to summer camp
Kate Tighe, executive director for the MDA, helped take photos of Ward with his fans and was there to enjoy the evening.
“The firefighters are MDA’s largest national sponsor and to do something with firefighters, Micky Ward, and McGreevy’s was a great opportunity,” Tighe said. “This event will help raise money for our summer camp, which is important to Mickey, and [will] send kids for free.”
The Muscular Dystrophy at Camp Allen in Bedford, N.H. is a fully adaptive program for children ages 6 – 17. Activities include horseback riding, swimming and more.
Ward’s Team, Micky Ward Charities, provides financial assistance to children and families in need, and has garnered more exposure since the release of ‘The Fighter.’
“The movie helped a lot because it brought a new awareness to my charity,” Ward said. “And thanks to Mark Wahlberg, who is a really big supporter, the community around Lowell, and the whole state of Massachusetts for opening up their wallets to help.”
He said he’s just trying to enjoy giving back and raising money. And behind the bar, he doesn’t have a special drink that he makes.
“I’m a beer guy,” Ward said. “You won’t walk out of here if I mix a drink.”