Bruce Goulart, 62, of Newtown used his skills as a general contractor to make repairs to six family members' homes as AmeriCares projects, but when it came time for them to work on his house the day was washed out by rain.
"Being the way that he is he said, 'Don't worry about it,'" Goulart's daughter Lisa recalled.
Goulart's family wanted to do something special for him and decided on the perfect gift for a man who has competed in over 100 marathons and 20 Ironman distance triathlons, in addition to numerous road races and shorter distance triathlons.
Goulart arrived at the Sprint for Monroe with his longtime spouse Jan Brown when he noticed a banner that read: "Bruce's Family Cares. Thank You for All You Do for Us!" His children, grandchildren and siblings accounting for seven families all showed up wearing light blue T-Shirts bearing the same message.
"We wanted to give something back," Lisa said. "We decided to do the race with him. We all came to surprise him — about 23 of us. He was shocked. He did get welled up."
Goulart said, "I'll be overwhelmed for weeks, I can't tell you. I'm so overwhelmed there are no words to describe it. It's an amazing thing. You can't process this. You can't process it all. I saw one face and another face ... I'm still blown away."
Goulart, owner and president of Goulart Construction, Inc., has four children and 11 grandchildren — with another one on the way. He first took up running 23 years ago and is a member of the 50 states marathon club with 30 states completed.
Lisa said that three of her father's grandchildren run in races because his passion for the sport inspired them.
Goulart had breakfast with his family after the Sprint for Monroe.
Starting in January, Lisa Goulart said her father led the family in home repairs at her step-brother's house, her sister Donna's, her Aunt Patty's, her Uncle Glenn's, her step-sister Sarah's, then her own house.