By Seth Daniel
There are no actors playing the part of Capt. Paul Ivens in dramatic renditions of the Marathon Bombing like the recently released ‘Patriots Day’ film, but among the cops in D-4, there was no bigger hero that day that Capt. Ivens – a man long-respected in the neighborhood prior to his recent retirement.
Ivens served for years as the steadfast captain of D-4, and his quiet retirement didn’t allow neighbors and police officers to officially thank him for his years of service, particularly on one horrible day in D-4, the day of the Marathon Bombing. That will change according to South End Forum Moderator Steve Fox, who announced this week that Ivens will be feted by members of the neighborhood on Monday, Jan. 16, at Cinquecento Restaurant, 500 Harrison Ave. from 5-7 p.m.
“At the November meeting of the South End Forum, there was overwhelming support for the South End together with others from the city to come together for a few moments to pay tribute to the greatly admired, respected, and beloved newly retired District 4 Boston Police Captain Paul Ivens,” said Fox this week. “As most know, Southenders did not have an opportunity to thank him and bid him farewell prior to his retirement, so we would now like to correct that artifact of time and circumstance and come together to raise a glass of cheer, say thank you to a career professional who cared so deeply about our community, and wish he and his family well as he opens the next chapter of his life.”
No one will soon forget the emotional, tear-jerking off-the-cuff description of Capt. Ivens by Officer Jorge Dias at the November Forum, as Dias said few would ever know how crucial Ivens was during the Marathon bombing for the officers from D-4 who were on the scene and searching frantically in the aftermath for additional explosive devices that, at the time, were believed to be placed all around the area.
“No one is playing the part of Paul Ivens in any movies, but rest assured there is no bigger hero at the Marathon bombing than Paul Ivens,” Dias, who was present at the scene that day, told a mesmerized crowd at the Forum on Nov. 1. “ When he got on the radio, we all knew we were going home to our families. We didn’t know that before. They were looking for a second device…Paul Ivens was the hero. He called off Boylston Street in 11 minutes. Paul Ivens saved our lives…What we saw on Boylston Street that day isn’t something you wanted to remember…He wasn’t just a great captain, but also a great friend to us. We had a job to do the rest of that day in D-4. Crime didn’t stop that day despite the Marathon Bombing…When you see Paul Ivens, you can know he was not only a great captain of D-4, but also he should be known as a hero that no one will know about because he doesn’t want you to know.”
Dias further explained that it was his little son’s birthday on the day of the Marathon Bombing, and that before his shift they had picked out a birthday cake and prepared for the party.
During the aftermath of the bombing, Dias said he wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to attend that party. He and many officers didn’t know that day, in the moment, if they would make it out of there alive.
“It was the voice of Paul Ivens on the radio that let us know we would be ok,” said Dias, fighting back emotion.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after his testimony, nor will there likely be any during the celebration of Ivens’s career at D-4 in January.
Jeffrey Gates of the Aquitaine Group has generously provided the space and Cinquecento, but contributions will be taken up for the wait staff to be compensated during the time.
Fox said invited guests include Mayor Martin Walsh, members of the Boston City Council, the legislative delegation, Forum member neighborhood associations, South End institutions, service providers, and others whose lives have been touched by the leadership and kindness of Capt. Ivens.