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Boston Marathon: Boston Health Care For Homeless Program

BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Health Care for Homeless Program is essentially a free-standing hospital and respite center caring exclusively for the city's homeless men, women and children.

"It's an organization like no other in my opinion. The good it does for thousands in the Boston area every day is amazing," said Billie Starks, a social worker for the program.

"Everybody's story is a little different, every puzzle is different," said Sam Clark, a nurse at the facilities. "To feel that I've impacted someone even a little, it's a nice thing."

Clark and Starks share an office and a mission: caring for and guiding addicts in recovery. And this winter, they've also share the experience of training for the Boston Marathon as part of the official Health Care for the Homeless Fundraising team.

"It's my first marathon," said Starks. "I've been wanting to do it; run for a good cause."

Bill Ritchotte is a graphic designer at WBZ-TV, and while he doesn't share that first-hand connection to the program Starks and Clark do, he was inspired by their work.

So he joined their team and is gearing up for his first marathon as well.

"I don't think most people eve know it's here," Ritchotte said. "What they do for the homeless is incredible. It saves lives."

"People come to us down and out," explained Clark. "You watch the stages they go through, and not all are success. But to see them get even part way and start over is nice."

And those folks are the motivation for these first-time marathoners to make sure they cross the finish line.

Not having run a marathon before, not knowing if I can complete it, having the expectations of people knowing that I am running will help me finish," said Ritchotte.

"Patients motivate me to put one foot in front of the other, like we ask them to do every day," said Starks.

Unfortunately, Clark will have to cheer his teammates on from the sidelines come Marathon Monday because of a calf injury. But he's hoping to run for the cause next year.

Ritchotte is one of three members of the WBZ-TV family to be running the 117th Boston Marathon. Reporter Paul Burton is running for The Ron Burton Training Camp -- a youth sports camp founded by his father, and editor Phil Vaughn will run with a Go-Pro camera, giving viewers a unique look at what it's like in the crowds.

For more about the Health Care for the Homeless team, log on to their website.

Tune in to the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 on WBZ-TV, the only station with start-to-finish coverage of the race!


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