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Ray Duckler
Skydive New England

(SUSAN DOUCET/ Monitor staff)

Ray Duckler: Jumping into a new phase in life

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spencer Reed, emotionally guarded most of his life, landed Friday with the eyes of a child who’d just gotten a puppy. He turned 90 on Thursday, but his seven children are enjoying his rebirth lately, a face-lift of the soul. He jumped from a plane 13,500 feet in the air and says, “I’d do it again tomorrow. Out of this … 0

Ray Duckler: Remembering how we got here, and where we might be going

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mike Pelletier gave the Iraqi children backpacks filled with chalk, pencils and paper. The children, in turn, gave Pelletier hope. He said yesterday he could see the appreciation in their eyes 10 years ago while serving in the National Guard. He said those snapshots of innocence have stuck with him, a comforting thought … 0

Ray Duckler: Revisiting the past will shape the future

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The war on terror is back. Back in our minds. The voters’ minds. It’s no longer just jobs and the economy and immigration. Not since a group of Sunni extremists, once known as ISIS, now widely referred to as the Islamic State, began killing people in Syria. Not since that same group branched over to Iraq, turning a country we’ve tried to stabilize … 0

Ray Duckler: With Pope on hand, SPCA unveils its new facility

Friday, May 30, 2014

On the surface lies the stoic New Englander who’s close to the vest, doesn’t mince words and is modest, probably to a fault. Beneath, however, is someone with an extraordinary love for animals, plus the wallet to keep … 6

Ray Duckler: It’s time to bring Pembroke back into the fold

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pembroke Academy needs allies quickly, before basketball schedules are submitted sometime this summer. Anyone willing to extend an olive branch to this beleaguered program and play the Spartans next season? It’s time. Time to lay down your arms and declare peace, time to withdraw the boycott directed at … 4

Ray Duckler: Victoria Shouldis, the cat’s meow, paused to remember the SPCA

Monday, May 26, 2014

The SPCA is in good shape these days, thanks to the late Victoria Shouldis. So, in fact, is her cat, Casy. Both are the beneficiaries of a woman from Hillsboro who died of cancer three years ago, and … 2

Ray Duckler: There’s no place like home, but no one’s answering the door

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vicki McCloskey, a triathlete barely 5 feet tall, banged her open hand on the table for emphasis. Then she did it again, then again. She’s frustrated that her father, Donald McCloskey, who’s 89 and who saved lives on … 7

Ray Duckler: Brentwood officer Steve Arkell touched many

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jane Young, a veteran, hard-boiled law enforcement official, doesn’t let her guard down easily. Yesterday, though, she did. The state associate attorney general told the media that earlier in the day she’d been with the family of Brentwood … 3

Ray Duckler: Doctor, nurses recall Boston Marathon bombings

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One year ago today, an emergency broadcast at a Boston hospital on Charles Street crackled with chilling words. “Multiple victims. Code Red.” “We knew this was not a drill,” said Deb Trocchi, a registered nurse at Massachusetts Eye … 0

Ray Duckler: Couple to return to Boston after a marathon of indecision

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vicki Miller, approaching the Boston Marathon finish line a year ago today, ducked between two parked trucks and waited for a third explosion. Or, she wondered, maybe gunshots would be fired. She simply didn’t know. Her husband, Tom, two blocks away when the bombs detonated, said he felt … 0

Ray Duckler: Move over, Teddy; here comes Big Papi

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Teddy Roosevelt once spoke at the State House, and he built the Panama Canal. Dwight Eisenhower spoke there, too, and he led the invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe during World War II. And now, add David Ortiz to that … 5

Ray Duckler: Merrimack Valley took pride in change; Will Belmont follow?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A light clicked on at Merrimack Valley High School 10 years ago, when the school changed its nickname from the Indians to the Pride. Will Belmont High School soon flip the switch, too? We’ll know more on April 16, when the school’s student council hosts an open forum … 0

Ray Duckler: A tragedy in Boston hits home here

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Phil Tirrell pulled the bill of his hat down to hide his tears. Already emotionally vulnerable after the deaths of two Boston firefighters, he choked up over childhood memories of his father, the longtime fire chief in Lempster. … 0

Ray Duckler: Laura Zerra of Belmont steals show on Discovery’s ‘Naked and Afraid’

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Think you’re tough? Think you possess an adventurous spirit? Well, you’re not, and you don’t. Not compared with Laura Zerra, whose home address is Earth, but whose mind-set is out of this world. For our purposes, she lives … 1

Ray Duckler: Let Pembroke's Pat Welch be an example: Choose your words carefully

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For the past few years, Pat Welch, a star basketball player at Pembroke Academy, has been giving tips to young players eager to learn from the best. And now, after officials stripped him of an award and banned … 14