FRAMINGHAM – The Salute to Framingham was created to honor individuals for their outstanding commitment and service to Framingham’s youth.
On Thursday, March 22, the Salute to Framingham will honor Michael J. Bower and Ron Vallely.
These honorees join a select group of people who have made a real difference in the lives of the youth of Framingham.
Michael J. (Mike) Bower has been quietly supporting the youth of Framingham for more than 12 years.
Bower moved to Framingham in 1992. In 2006 he became a Town Meeting member and quickly became Chair for the Standing Committee on Education. Shortly thereafter, he was elected to the Framingham School Committee where he served 5 years, one as Chair and two as Clerk, before his election to the Board of Selectmen in 2013.
Prior to moving to Framingham, he served for 9 years on the Randolph School Committee from 1982 to 1991. His frequent elections and re-elections were due to his experience, collaborative style, thoughtful approach, consensus building and open mindedness. His community service for the benefit of students on both school committees is of particular note, as he has no children. Many witnessed firsthand his effort and dedication to ensure the best possible job was done for the benefit of our district’s students.
Bower retired from his Selectman seat in 2016 to focus on working with the Greater Framingham Running Club on behalf of residents of all ages. He volunteers weekly during the summer at the GFRC kids’ summer track program.
While serving as selectman in 2013, he was instrumental in establishing “Team Framingham,” which each year gives 22 Framingham Public School employees and Framingham residents the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon and raise funds for local charities. An avid runner himself, he helped shape the vision of Team Framingham and has lent his leadership and support in creating and updating the guiding principles for Team Framingham over the last four years. He has worked tirelessly to establish and develop the fundraising arm of Team Framingham, which since its inception in 2013 has raised close to $270,000 for local charities. A generous portion of this fundraising has gone to charities that benefit hundreds of Framingham youth, including FHS Resiliency for Life, Framingham High School Foundation, Hoops and Homework, The Boys and Girls Club, and the Framingham Youth Initiative (FYI) for the Arts.
In addition, Bower has personally raised more than $30,000 since 2010 for the Boys and Girls Club and the Ron Burton Training Village, two great charities benefiting young people, as a charity runner for the Boston Marathon through his employer John Hancock.
No matter what level of his involvement in a project or team, his role is never a self-serving one.
Those who work closely with him say, “It’s never about Mike. It is clear that he is thinking about you, or the person next to you, or the greater community. He is always making sure that whoever he is trying to help feels upported. Mike has searched and developed ways to bring hope and equality to those who need it.”
In November 2016, Bower was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. MASC President Jake Oliveira upon presenting Mike with the award noted that it was “In recognition of (his) many years of service as a strong advocate for children and (his) unselfish contributions to the community of Framingham”
Ron Vallely has been involved in Framingham youth athletic programs for more than 20 years. He is described as a generous, dynamic, innovative & creative man who is also a great team leader, team player, mentor, coach and friend.
As with many parents, he started coaching when his children were participants, but he continued coaching long after his children aged out of the programs. Through the years, he has taken on the roles of softball coach, baseball coach, and TBA basketball coach.
For the last 16 years, Vallely has been predominantly involved with the Framingham Youth Football and Cheer (FYFC) program, taking on almost every job role possible — including master hotdog wrapper and making chili for home games. His contributions to FYFC started with announcing games from the back of a pickup truck with a microphone and small radio. He worked for years within the program, always coming up with unique and innovative ways for the program to expand, succeed and be financially sound. He was always looking for activities to give back to others within our community, teaching the youth of the program the importance of respect for themselves and others, and always encouraging the kids to do their best on and off the field.
To ensure that the kids had positive examples to look up to, Vallely started the “Heroes Among Us” Award, designed to recognize local citizens that have made a difference in the community.
Vallely has also been a great source of influence for many parents, coaches and other town programs. Over the last 7 years, he has held the role of President for Framingham Youth Football and Cheer, President of the Bay State Youth Football and Cheer Conference and is currently the Executive Director of the Conference. He works tirelessly to ensure safe and competitive environments, outstanding commitment and service for the youth of each of these individual town programs. His
efforts and contributions go above and beyond teaching the fundamentals of football and cheer. With more than 12 communities currently in the Bay State Conference, with more than 300 youth in each community, it is safe to say that his influence and dedication which began with the youth of Framingham has now spread far beyond our cities’ boundaries.
The Salute to Framingham will take place on Thursday, March 22 at 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Framingham Ballroom.
Online ticket sales begin February 1, 2018. The evnt sold out last year, and has soldout in previous years.
For more information about the Salute to Framingham, click here.
All proceeds from the Salute to Framingham benefit the Framingham High School Foundation which supports the extracurricular Activities, Arts, and Athletics at Framingham High School.