Just Giving a Hand

Law Library's McCarty wins Community Service Award

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

If the president ever convenes another national summit on volunteerism, Edward "Ted" McCarty III '86 could be a one-man delegation.

McCarty, acquisitions coordinator at the Boston College Law Library, devotes countless hours to volunteer work. He spends one week a year building houses for the poor, reads to schoolchildren on lunch hours, regularly donates blood platelets for cancer patients, participates in several charity walks a year and organizes food drives for various causes.

For his efforts, McCarty has been named this year's recipient of the Boston College Community Service Award.

His volunteer schedule may leave one wondering where he finds the time for all his charitable endeavors, but McCarty downplays his contributions.

"It doesn't take much time. You shouldn't be tooting your horn about it," said McCarty, a Brighton resident. "There are people who dedicate their lives to mentoring children, or to the Peace Corps. I'm just giving a hand when asked."

"Ted McCarty is the best BC has to offer," said Law Library Assistant Donna Perkins, one of several co-workers who nominated him for the honor. "He recently spent a weekend roofing a house for the friend of a friend, a single mom whom he had never met. If Ted can help out, he always will."

Edward McCarty III is this year's Community Service Award winner. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Law Library Assistant Andrea Goldstein praised McCarty as "a devout Catholic, [whose] life is devoted to doing good works, trying to help others, and always being available for friends, family and those in need. He does his volunteering quietly, but his work does not go unnoticed."

McCarty's community service takes him to a variety of settings. He contributes about three hours per month to the Boston Cares program, a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities in the city, and another three hours per month to the Shattuck Shelter with other volunteers from his St. Ignatius parish. He also spends one lunch hour a month reading to children at the Garfield School in Brighton as part of BC's Read Aloud Program.

Besides his ongoing volunteer work, McCarty participates in several special events or initiatives, such as the Fides Society's annual giving project. He does four or five walk-a-thons per year to raise funds for cancer research, hospices for the terminally ill, and other causes. In addition, each year McCarty devotes a week of his vacation to the Habitat for Humanity program, which takes him to different cities to build houses for the needy.

One of McCarty's community service activities is especially heart-felt. In memory of his mother, who died of ovarian cancer, McCarty twice a month donates blood platelets - the component that allows blood to clot - to aid people with leukemia or other forms of cancer.

But McCarty insists his volunteer schedule is not burdensome. Read Aloud is "one of my lunch hours a month," while donating the blood platelets "only takes about an hour - you can fit that in," he said.

And the walk-a-thons? "They're on Sundays and take two hours or so," he said, "when otherwise you'd be on the couch with a clicker watching hoop."

One of his proudest moments as a volunteer came this past September in Atlanta, where McCarty worked on a Habitat for Humanity project that built 20 houses in five days. Toiling on a tar roof in the hazy 90-degree heat of a Georgia morning, he and his crew mates paused for moment to take in the sweep of the construction effort underway.

"You could hear about a thousand hammers going," he recalled. "We transformed a community. It was hard doing 16-hour days. But I said to myself, 'See what you're doing. See what you're a part of.'"

A strong Catholic faith underpins McCarty's volunteerism. McCarty has taken a full menu of night courses in theology at BC, and is considering pursuing a master's degree in the subject. He even has contemplated entering the priesthood, but said he has yet to be sure of his calling. For now, he has thrown himself enthusiastically into serving others as a layman.

"We're told in the Sunday liturgy to do things," he said. "Why not put these ideas into action? I have a favorite quote from Aristotle: 'Better well done than well said.'"

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