HONORARY EVENT CO-CHAIRS
Ken and Jen (Larner) Casey both grew up in Milton, married in 1995 and are proud graduates of Milton High School’s Class of 1988. Jennifer attended Milton Public Schools grades 1-12 while Ken attended Saint Mary of the Hills and Catholic Memorial before coming to Milton High for his final two years.
In 1996, Ken formed the Dropkick Murphys in the basement of a Quincy barbershop. The band formed on a dare when a co-worker of Ken’s challenged him to put a band together to open for his next show. Much to their surprise, the band clicked immediately with a rapidly growing fan base, which they developed at now-legendary all age shows at the now defunct Rathskeller in Boston. As the band grew, it took to the road, often doing as many as 200 shows a year across the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and beyond. With Ken on the road so much, the growing band business and merchandising company was left in the hands of his wife, Jennifer, who dealt with the stacks of bills, employee payrolls, and a merchandising business that she ran from the basement of their first home. The business eventually took over every room in the house.
As the founding member of the band, and one of the primary songwriters, Ken sings on many of the band’s most popular songs including “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” “Rose Tattoo,” and “Paying My Way,” off the just-released new album, 11 SHORT STORIES OF PAIN & GLORY. From its humble beginning in the basement of that Quincy barbershop, and with the help of Jennifer and supportive family and friends, the band has gone on to sell 7 million records worldwide (over half of which is on the band’s own label Born & Bred Records), debut its latest record at #2 on the US sales chart, and headline some of the world’s largest music festivals.
Jen and Ken have three children, Emma (15), Liam (12), and Colin (7). The family has taken part in many of the band’s most exciting moments. Emma, an Irish Step Dancer with the Forbes School, had the opportunity to dance on the field prior to the 2013 World Series-clinching game, while the band performed. And Liam and Colin were able to run the bases and slide into home plate during the World Series post-game celebration.
The band’s new album is inspired by the losses they’ve incurred with family, friends, and fans as a result of the opioid epidemic ravaging the country, and in particular New England and the Boston area. The band’s most significant firsthand contact with the tragedy is via their work with the Claddagh Fund. Inspired by Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr, who advised Ken that he could achieve a greater good by harnessing the passion and energy of the band’s fan base under the umbrella of its own charitable foundation, led to the founding of the Claddagh Fund in 2009. Created to raise funds for the most underfunded non-profit organizations that support the most vulnerable populations in our communities, including organizations serving children, veterans, and those in recovery and suffering from addiction.
The Claddagh Fund name is derived from the Irish Claddagh ring, symbolizing Friendship, Love and Loyalty.
On May 20, 2016, Ken and Dropkick Murphys received the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps' Embracing the Legacy Award, for years of charity work with various organizations, including work with children and military veterans. This purpose of the award is to “acknowledge and honor individuals and organizations whose extraordinary actions have reflected the social values and hopes of Senator Robert F. Kennedy by raising awareness and fighting against injustice and inequity in society which affect children and their families.”
Ken and Jen are very proud of their Milton roots and are still very active in the local community with many of their Milton friends. They currently reside in Hingham, but will always consider themselves Miltonites. Ken credits Milton High School, and in particular, a school guidance counselor, Sharon Ross, with helping him through some difficult years. In his words: "I was a bit out of control in my teens, but Mrs. Ross and everyone at the school stayed on me and made sure I finished high school. Milton High School never gave up on me even when I had given up on myself."