Inside Stories

Heroes Among Us: The Florence Family

The Florence family of Lowell, Massachusetts center court at the Boston Garden on January 19, 2024 (Photo courtesy Boston Celtics)

The Florence family of Lowell were honored as “Heroes Among Us” during the Boston Celtics home game against the Denver Nuggets last Friday, January 19, 2024.

Lowell resident Maggie O’Rourke is an ICU nurse and gave her parents, Bill and Christine Florence, a LifeVac for Christmas. LifeVac is an anti-choking device designed with a valve that prevents air from exiting through a mask. The valve prevents air from pushing food downward, creating a one-way suction to remove the lodged food or object. A few days after the holiday, O’Rourke’s father choked on his dinner and her mother ran to grab the LifeVac from underneath their Christmas tree. Thankfully, O’Rourke’s father survived the incident.

Since the incident, the Florence family has advocated for choking prevention and donated over $5,000 in LifeVacs. The family is also working to pass legislation requiring LifeVacs inside all schools throughout the Commonwealth.

Since its establishment in 1997 by the Boston Celtics, the “Heroes Among Us” program has recognized outstanding individuals who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to their communities. The award is presented at every Celtics home game and pays tribute to the heroic achievements of these outstanding citizens.

In January of 2020, former Lowell School Committeeman and Megan House Foundation Board Chair Robert Gignac was similarly honored for his efforts in helping combat the opioid crisis.

2 responses to “Heroes Among Us: The Florence Family”

  1. Elise Martin says:

    Wow, this is an amazing story and I’m so glad to know Billy is ok! Great gift Maggie and great use of it, Chris!

  2. Christine G Florence says:

    Thank you for this great honor. The Celtics organization provided us with a fabulous night. We are so grateful!

    The entire Florence Family

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