Joseph Walsh, JD '10 -- Who says you can’t run before you walk?

On May 23, 2010, Joseph Walsh, an Army veteran, did just that when he ran around Boston and inside Fenway Park as part of a Boston Red Sox fundraising event to honor our nation’s heroic veterans before walking across the Bank of America Pavilion stage to receive his juris doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School.

The Roslindale resident’s big day started at 8 a.m. when he participated in the inaugural Boston Red Sox Run to Home Base 9K run. He and many other caring men and women began their run in the city and scampered through scenic Boston, ending inside Fenway by circling the bases and touching home plate, a once-in-a-lifetime experience in front of their family, friends and the general public cheering from the stands.

Said Walsh, who was born and raised in Brighton, “Crossing home plate at Fenway is a ‘butterflies moment’ for a kid who grew up selling sodas in Kenmore Square from a bucket filled with ice.”

Once the run was done, Walsh raced to his father’s nearby office for a quick shower and changed out of his running attire and into his cap and gown. With his father, a one-time Boston cabbie and ice cream truck driver, behind the wheel, Walsh then headed to the Boston Pavilion, arriving on time to receive his law degree.

“I’ll always remember May 23 as a busy and memorable day for me and my family,” said the 31-year-old, Walsh, who lives with his wife and their two children. “I had the opportunity to celebrate two personal accomplishments.”

Walsh enlisted in the National Guard following the 9/11 attacks. He spent four years in the military, more than two on active duty. His educational background includes receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English from Boston University in 2005, and a post-secondary degree in Russian from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California in 2003.

While at Suffolk Law, Walsh was the recipient of a McCormack Scholarship, a Jurisprudence Award for Environmental Law, and, most recently, awarded the 2010 John E. Fenton Public Service Fellowship. He also served as the SBA’s Associate Director of Alumni Affairs in 2008-2009 and chairing the Class of 2010 gift committee.

“The best thing about Suffolk Law is that the experience can be what you make of it,” said Walsh, who is the government and community affairs manager of NSTAR in Boston. “Suffolk Law is a place that offers you enough flexibility that you can keep up a full-time career. It also offers you enough support that if you approach the administration with the cockamamie idea of running a charity 9K road race at almost the exact same time as commencement, they not only say it can be done, but that it must!”

Walsh discovered a passion for running while attending Suffolk Law (he is now 90 pounds lighter than when he first entered Sargent Hall). In January, Walsh ran his first competitive race, the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon, in less than two hours. More importantly, he raised more than $5,000 to support Autism Speaks, and its efforts to offer support to families and kids struggling with autism, a cause close to his family given his wife’s work as a special educator. His team delivered a check of more than $50,000 to the charity from that event.

Walsh is excited about helping to raise funds for the new Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. This outreach will serve the many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat stress disorders and/or traumatic brain injury and their families.

“When I heard about this event, I knew it was another opportunity to put meaning into my training,” said Walsh. “Since September 11, 2001, much has changed in all of our lives, including the fact that American soldiers have been at war every one of those days since.”

Walsh plans on taking the Massachusetts bar and seeking a position in government service that will allow him to use his energy policy experience to help transform our local energy infrastructure, our economy, and our environment.

However, right now, Joseph Walsh is still glowing about May 23 and completing two vitally important tasks — one foot at a time.
Wicked Local Roslindale, May 23, 2010