WELLFLEET – Kevin Fitzgerald’s parents always knew where he was when he was not home. He was at the Wellfleet Skate Park.
The park, now known as the Kevin J. Fitzgerald SK8 Park, was dedicated on Sunday to the young man who died in December at age 17 after battling leukemia for almost four years.
Over those years, the community offered support by holding blood drives for the teen and even creating an event, “Shred for Kev” to raise money. Friends would visit him at the hospital in Boston, and when he was home, they would involve him in events.
Wellfleet Recreation Director Becky Rosenberg said Kevin was a long-time fixture at the park.
“He had been skateboarding at the park pretty much since he was old enough to walk. This was his passion,” she said.
Kevin was also respectful, she said, of younger skaters and those not as skilled.
“We have a culture at the park of all different age groups encouraging each other and learning new tricks and hanging out together at the park. He was very much a part of that,” she said.
About 200 people attended Sunday’s ceremony, including family, friends, skaters, teachers and classmates.
“It was a huge, huge show of support and I know his family was very touched by it,” Rosenberg said.
She added, “It was very cathartic for everyone to remember Kevin but also to be doing something that he would have really loved to participate in.”
The dedication included best trick contests and the “Shred-a-Que,” which was a barbeque with vendors donating food to the event.
“The Wellfleet community really comes together. It’s very extraordinary. People have commented to me that they are envious that we have so much camaraderie and sticking together and helping people out. This was a reflection of helping people out,” Rosenberg said.
The dedication of the park, Rosenberg said, was a celebration of Kevin and his family and also the kids in the skating community who stuck by his side the whole time he was ill.
After all the donations that came from the dedication, she said, there is enough money to build three or four brand new ramps at the park.