When Walter saw Paula for the first time, he told his college roommates “she will be mine,” 8 years later we got married!
Paula and Walter met in 1995 and believe everything happens for a reason. For a quarter of a century this couple has been learning and growing together. They love celebrating with friends, family and especially their son and daughter who you may see often helping around Paper Fiesta since opening in the fall of 2018.
After graduating from Curry college in 1998 Walter soon realized he was climbing the corporate ladder, but it was up against the wrong tree. He contemplated choosing a new career until September 11th, 2001. The tragedy of terror on 9-11 had reignited the flame of what he always really wanted to do. Help people. Walter returned to school and became an EMT in 2002. He started his EMS career at American Medical Response in Natick. In 2005 he started working 911 on the AMR ambulance out of Newton Fire Station 2. The turn that begins BOSTON’s world famous “heartbreak hill.” Walter always wanted to “someday” run the Boston Marathon even though he was not a runner and hated to run. He felt inspired by the runners and loved how the community united to support each other. Walter was spellbound by the magic of the marathon and every year thought to himself, “maybe someday I’ll run BOSTON.”
Walter began working at Boston EMS in 2008. Marathon Monday on 4-15-2013 changed his life. Witnessing the triumphs of runners in the morning and the tragedies of terror in the afternoon was an overwhelming experience. Inside of the terror, devastation and grief there was still something special happening…”strangers helping strangers” and every one of his coworkers “running the right way.” Their worst brought out our best!
The magic of the marathon seemed lost and buried somewhere beneath the ruins. Running seemed like the only way to search for and rediscover that lost magic. Walter ran his first marathon in 2014 and reunited with survivors along the way. Discovering what many people affectionately call “the survivor community” fueled his passion and purpose. He was introduced to survivors and first responders from around the world united by tragedy and stronger because of them. Walter’s still running, working full time at Boston EMS and dedicated to transforming tragedy into triumph. His “mile10connections” gift section consists of poetry and motion. Photos that tell a story decorate the walls. The legendary Johnny Kelley running past our window is a favorite.
What are the chances this diverse couple would one day open a store together that unite such unique passions? How could this store dedicated to bringing joy to people’s lives, be located on mile 10 of the Boston Marathon, inside of historic “Clark’s Block” that is 2 years older than the marathon itself?
We may not know the reason everything happens, but we do know everything happens for a reason. We thank God for everything and believe in magic.
Their journey into owning and operating a small business in Natick, Ma has been a marathon both figuratively and literally. It seems like fate that their individual passions would combine into this synergetic store’s location. Paper Fiesta is located at 1 Main Street in the heart of downtown Natick, right along the famous mile 10 section of the Boston Marathon. C’mon by and see for yourself why this new gift shop, located on the historic corner of Clark’s Block (built in 1872), offers gifts, paper, fun with an essence of strength, history, spirit and hope.