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Always the comforter, now in pain

Always the comforter, now in pain

FAMILY TRAGEDY: The Rev. Bruce H. Wall looks at a photo of himself with his son, Bruce A., who is hospitalized after a car accident.
By Margery Eagan  |   Wednesday, December 8, 2010  |  |  Columnists

Photo by Angela Rowlings
The Rev. Bruce Wall has spent a lifetime mentoring youth, battling street violence and keeping vigil with mothers and fathers of murder victims in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.

Yesterday, he kept a vigil he had not expected. He was at the bedside of the eldest of his three children, hit early Sunday morning by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 95 in Connecticut.

“The last thing he remembers is headlights coming toward him,” Wall said yesterday about his namesake, Bruce A. Wall, nicknamed Aharon.

With his classmate at Gordon College, the 22-year-old Wall was driving south in an old model Oldsmobile when he was struck by the Audi of Ellen H. Noordzy, 21. Both Wall and Evan Williamson, also 21, of Brewster, were airlifted to hospitals with life-threatening injuries.

“Aharon has rods in his left leg, screws in his right arm. His pelvis is crushed. His bones are crushed. He has to learn to walk again,” Wall said. “But he’s alive.”

Williamson remains on a ventilator but has been able to speak, Wall said, so there is hope.

Bruce Wall, senior pastor of the Global Ministries Christian Church, is the stuff of local legend. He was one of three black ministers who founded Boston’s Ten Point Coalition, praised nationwide for reducing crime in the ’90s. For years, he provided a safe haven for teens at the Chez Vous roller rink. Now often at odds with both a fractured black clergy and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Wall, 61 — even with a third stent in his heart — keeps up his outreach, his preaching, his radio show and his patrols of Codman Square, where he’s known as “the mayor.”

But the typically fired-up Wall was subdued yesterday speaking of his injured son, a college lacrosse player.

“He had tears in his eyes because it’s coming to him that he’ll never compete again,” Wall said. “You know, I carried Aharon in my left arm and my Bible in my right arm when I’d be preaching. I’d take him to Chez Vous. When some kids drove up once looking for trouble, I told them, ‘I don’t know what you’re planning. But my little son’s with me.’ ’’

Yet Wall said he’s taken solace in “people coming together over this.”

“Young men on the fence about how to live their lives have recommitted to Christ. I’m receiving calls from people I thought I was on the outs with. They’re expressing love to me. Something’s happening in the city, in the black community. I ask myself what will bring us together to stop the violence. Maybe this,” Wall said, “can be a catalyst.”

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