Near the end of his sophomore year at Andover High, Guzowski McGrath got news his father suffered a heart attack.
“The thing was, he was cleared to go home,” he recalled. “The problem was we had to keep him in the hospital until after the upcoming weekend because my sister’s college graduation was in New York and my dad couldn’t be left at home and couldn’t make the drive to New York.
“Our intention was to attend the graduation and then my brother, my sister and myself would pick him up on Monday,” said Guzowski McGrath. “Unfortunately a couple of days before the graduation my father had a fatal heart attack in his sleep. We had just celebrated his 50th birthday a month before. It was startling to say the least.”
Guzowski McGrath says he is forever indebted to his sister, Kim, who graduated a few days after their father’s passing.
“Kim should have been a newly minted graduate with diploma in hand taking on the world,” he said. “Instead, she put her life on hold to take care of her kid brother. She came back to Andover and taught at Phillips Academy while I finished up high school. Those times were really hard for me and I imagine her. I wasn’t exactly on the best behavior at first. Eventually I turned it around which I owe to my sister and really to the town of Andover.”
Yes, the town came through again for the ex-Little League star. It was amazing how many people came to help him in a great time of need.
“What a tremendous and caring community I was fortunate to grow up in,” said Guzowski McGrath. “Everyone was looking out for my best interests – my brother and sister, family, friends, teachers, coaches, neighbors, police officers, firefighters, anyone and everyone was looking out for me whether I knew it or not. I lost two parents but gained an entire town of guardians. As they say, it takes a village.”