Milford’s Michael Boucher already a CHaD football star

Staff photo by TOM KING Milford's Michael Boucher (50) was not only leading the CHaD West team through early conditioning drills, he is the team's leading fundraiser for Saturday's game.

MANCHESTER – If you are a local business owner in the Milford area and outskirts of Greater Nashua, chances are you know recent Milford High School graduate Michael Boucher.

And not just because he was a superb lineman for the Spartans football team.

In the last few months, Boucher has learned the fine art of fundraising, and is the West Team’s top fundraiser having gotten donations totaling an incredible $7,371.

Boucher has been hooked on the CHaD All-Star Football Game ever since he got the email telling him he had been selected to the West squad that will face the East on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the University of New Hampshire.

“It’s more of an honor than anything else,” Boucher said. “I went to the orientation with my Dad and it really hit me hard that this isn’t just a football game. It’s more of an outlet for kids who aren’t able to pay their hospital bills.

“It’s a great idea for the CHaD organization to reach out to the community and get money in creative ways such as the CHaD Game.”

Which is exactly what Boucher did.

Touched by the enormity of the cause, Boucher literally hit the streets to raise money, answering the challenge the organization gives to the players.

When he got an email that he would be in the game, Boucher was happy to follow in the footsteps of former Milford players who have taken part in the game. But he wanted to do more, and set a fundraising goal of $5,000.

“When my Dad and I came back from the orientation, we said, ‘We have to do this, what are we doing,'” Boucher said.

First thing was to go to family members, then Milford High School helped him organize a dodgeball tournament that raised $1,000. But he noticed that other players were getting donations from businesses, and that’s when Boucher decided to take things to another level.

“I’d go around town, go to other places,” he said. “They’d have a personal connection with you. We knew some people that ran companies and we got lucky with that.”

But for a high school senior to basically go out on what could be termed a sales call, with no prior experience, takes some bravery.

“At first I’d be going with my girlfriend or my family,” Boucher said. “It was easier to approach people. But it was very hard to go to a business and speak to someone like a manager. It was very hard. The first time I went out, I didn’t get anything.”

Welcome to the world of sales, right?

He was with his girlfriend, Jacqueline Dumont, that first day in February, going around the Milford Oval. Doors weren’t exactly opening.

“We got shut down left and right,” he said. “We got a gift card and stuff. That day we went to 20 places, and we didn’t get a lot. We needed to change our plan and the way we went about it.”

Door-to-door is hard enough. But Boucher and Dumont Plan B was something a little easier, but still challenging: Cold calling.

“First we’d call a place and set up an appointment with someone,” he said. “That was probably the best way to do it. We made sure we’d set up meetings with people. People we were affiliated with, people at places we’d been.”

For the most part, the responses increased. “But it was hard,” Boucher said. “When we actually talked to people, the actual connection with the community, once people heard the story it was easier for them to say ‘OK, I’ll meet you in person and we’ll talk about it.'”

Boucher was a Division II First Team All-State player, and will take his skills to Saint Anselm in the fall.

“I’ve been up there, I’ve been around Manchester, it’s like home to me,” he said. “Ever since they started recruiting me, it’s felt like home.”

It didn’t take West coach Eric Brown of Concord long to select Boucher for the team once he saw him on film.

“I’ve got to tell you,” Brown said. “I saw one play, and I was like, ‘Done.’ He was that impressive.”

If he’s as good a player in college as he has been as a salesman, he’ll be successful.

“It was more of an effort-type thing,”Boucher said. “It was more consistency. Not every place was going to do it. So we made sure we kept going, kept persisting. We knew it was for the right cause, and we knew once people actually had a conversation on what ChaD’s about, what (a donation) really goes for, it worked…

“It was very easy for people to say, ‘OK, this is a donation for something that matters. It feels good. It just makes you feel good.”

Boucher’s efforts should make a lot of others feel good, too.