After commissioner and ex-chief Andrew “Drew” McCaffery of the Cutchogue Fire Department died Aug. 12 at 41, his family wanted to find a way to honor his memory by raising money for some of his favorite charities. He was best known in his community for lending a helping hand whenever needed.
“He loved being in the fire service, he was very compassionate,” said Lauren McCaffery, Drew’s wife of 10 years. “If he knew someone was going through a rough time, he would always reach out to them just to see how they were doing.”
His brother Michael McCaffery has organized the Drew McCaffery Memorial 7K, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 11, at 8:30 a.m. Online registration is now open; entry is $30 in advance or $35 on race day. Proceeds will go to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the Kanas Center for Hospice Care in Quiogue and Fred’s Team-MSKCC.
“The important thing is to continue his legacy for other people,” Mr. McCaffery said of his brother. “That is really the whole idea, to run or walk help these charities that meant so much to him.”
The event will follow quite an odd route and also an unusual distance, in order to pass special landmarks that were significant to Drew and his wife.
It starts at the corner of Route 48 and Bridge Lane, then heads west toward Cox Lane and through the Mathews Lane cul de sac, where he lived. From there it runs up to Oregon Road, to Depot Lane, across Route 48, past Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. Church, where he and Lauren were married, then onto Schoolhouse Road, turning on North Street, then onto Main Road and finishing at the Cutchogue firehouse.
“There’s a method to that madness,” Mr. McCaffery explained. “Drew was Cutchogue Fire number 437, and this distance is roughly 4.37 miles.”
Before his death, Drew was heavily involved in the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, an organization that helps firefighters and their families cope with cancer.
“Even when he was going through his chemo treatments, he was mentoring people from the [network],” Ms. McCaffery said. “He would always reach out to them even if he was feeling crummy. He got really involved with that organization after he was diagnosed and ended up mentoring a lot of people over the years.”
His mother, Carol McCaffery, is excited about the event and happy to honor her son’s memory.
“We do not want him forgotten. If others needed him, he was always there. He was a good guy,” she said. “The biggest thing is that we were so surprised, we didn’t realize how many lives he touched until everyone came to his wake.”
Online registration ends Friday, Nov. 10.
Courtesy photo: Michael McCaffery (left) and Drew McCaffery after the 2015 New York City Marathon. A memorial run will be held Nov. 11 in honor of Drew, a former chief of the Cutchogue Fire Department.