By Greg Dudek
A year ago, Bridgewater State University professor Kimberly Wise and five students worked triage near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Like she had in the past several years, Wise worked the Boston Marathon to treat runners after their 26.2-mile journey from Hopkinton to Boston and it seemed like all the previous marathons before.
But that was until two bombs went off near the finish line on Boylston Street that killed three and injured an estimated 264 people. Wise and the Bridgewater State students found themselves in the midst of carnage, but instead of running away, they ran forward to help the injured.
Now, a year later as many reflect on the anniversary of the bombings that occurred that Patriot’s Day at the 117th Boston Marathon, it has left an immense impact on those who witnessed the incident firsthand.
“It takes time, not all questions can be answered in a catastrophic incident like this,” Wise said. “You can’t live your life in fear. This made us stronger.”
Wise, along with then juniors Jordan Leonard and Thomas Doucette, were originally working to provide care to runners near the finish line.
Two more students who were also juniors at the time of the incident, Joseph Sanford and Jordan DaSilva, worked closer on the running route near the second blast.
Graduate student Bethany Forshaw worked in tent A near the finish line, which Wise said was approximately 20 to 30 yards from where the first bomb went off.
Leonard declined to comment for this story, while Doucette, Sanford, DaSilva and Forshaw were unable to be reached for comment.
When the first bomb went off Wise said her immediate concern was for her students’ safety, but as she saw them run toward the wreckage, she followed.
“My first initial thought was danger,” Wise said. “What seemed to me to be like five to 10 to 30 minutes was actually seconds. Listening and seeing the chaos I knew it was bad. And you could either go forward or stand back.”
Everything else is still too tough for Wise to talk about as the students and her helped those who were injured.
Wise said it has taken time for her to talk about the events that occurred that day, but through the support of family, friends and the Bridgewater State community, it has helped to lessen the struggle.
Wise, along with the five students who accompanied her at last year’s Boston Marathon, went back again to work triage this year.
While Wise said she would have a lot of different emotions going back, but that it was an easy decision for the students and for her to give their time to the runners crossing the finish line once again.
“We are all going back,” Wise said. “Everybody is going back. Not just from Bridgewater, but from all institutions. Our motto is ‘let’s finish what we started’ because last year we didn’t get to finish.”
Now, with some time to reflect on the events, Wise has used her experience to help educate others on being prepared no matter the situation.
In the classroom, Wise said she draws upon her own experience from that day and tries to help her students see the bigger picture.
It is the bigger picture that Wise sees by going through this tragedy that draws her and the students back to the Boston Marathon on the third Monday in April.
“We have to keep going,” Wise said. “We can’t stop living our lives and doing the things we need to do in our society.”
Greg Dudek is The Comment’s Editor-In-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at gdudek10 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.