John Kelley Memorial Fund to award scholarships

Mystic — One year after the unveiling of a statue of the late Boston Marathon winner John Kelley of Mystic and his dog Brutus on West Main Street, the nonprofit group that raised the money for the statue says it will now award annual scholarships to Fitch High School runners.   

Jim Roy, the chairman of the John Kelley Memorial Fund said Tuesday that beginning next spring, plans are to award two $1,500 scholarships a year to a male and female cross country or track team member at Fitch, where Kelley taught and coached for many years.

Roy said the statue effort raised $100,000 and the remaining $12,000 will be used for the scholarships over the next several years.

He said the fund will also be accepting donations to continue giving out the scholarships.

Roy said Fitch coaches, the board of the Kelley Fund and Kelley’s family will choose the scholarship winners each year and announce them at the school’s annual award banquet.

Roy said the group will not be looking to select the fastest runners but the runners who display kindness and sportsmanship, two of Kelley’s best qualities.

“I think that’s what John would want,” said Roy, who was off Tuesday to watch a Fitch cross country meet.

On Monday, to mark the first anniversary of the statue’s unveiling, Boston Marathon winners Amby Burfoot of Mystic, who was coached by Kelley, and Uta Pippig of Germany met with the Fitch cross country team.

Roy, who spent several years leading the effort to fund the statue and finds a location for it, said that there is now a void with the larger-than-life-size bronze statue having been successfully erected last September.

“So now we’re focusing on the next step,” he said

Donation for the scholarships can be made at www.johnkelley.org.

j.wojtas@theday.com

Twitter: @joewojtas

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