updated 04/17/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/17/2014 AT 7:30 PM ET
It’s been a busy few weeks for Donnie Wahlberg, between wrapping the fourth season of Blue Bloods and expanding his family’s burger joint Wahlburgers to include a Fenway Park location oh, and asking Jenny McCarthy to marry him. But if there’s one thing he always makes time for, it’s his beloved city of Boston.
The actor and New Kids on the Block star will be heading to his hometown on Sunday for the Boston Marathon, a year after two bombs went off at the finish line.
“We were all really affected last year,” he tells PEOPLE, remembering that he heard the news while filming on the set of Blue Bloods in New York City. “The crew, who had all lived through 9-11, started coming over to me one by one, saying, ‘There is something wrong in Boston, you should go call people.’ ”
This year, you’ll find Wahlberg watching along the race route, shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow Bostonians. “I can’t even imagine how proud I’m going to feel standing there,” he says. “I had a notion of running it myself but I decided to put my energy into supporting my brother [Jim], my bandmates [Joey and Danny], and all the other thousands and thousands of people running.”
One thing’s for sure: Wahlberg is getting used to these emotional moments. Last weekend he proposed to McCarthy with the help of her 11-year-old son Evan.
“I just went with my heart,” Wahlberg says. “I had these other plans of being on a boat or in some spectacular romantic location, but we were having a good time with Evan and I thought, ‘This is the time to do it.’ ”
As for Jenny’s yellow sapphire bling? “I saw it and knew it was the perfect ring.”