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Bar News - May 17, 2013


Boston Marathon Bombing: NH Bar Members Describe Their Experiences

By:


Les Potapczyk, a friend of NH Bar member Julie Moore, photographed the bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line April 15.
Julie Moore decided the day before the Boston Marathon that, for the first time in about 20 years, she would not compete in the race. That decision led to her standing right in front of both April 15 bomb blasts with her 15-year-old son.

"Iím in the middle of the road not knowing where to go or what to do," she said. "We just stuck together and held hands."

Moore, a New Hampshire Bar member who lives Wellesley, Mass., hadnít trained as hard as she usually does for the marathon, so she decided not to run. If she had, she would have finished long before the explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260. Instead, she was volunteering in the VIP stands directly across the road from the blast sites. Her friend, photographer Les Potapczyk, started taking pictures of the scene as they made their way to safety.

"When the bombs went off, I was in front of the Lenox Hotel, so I was equidistant, about 30 yards from each bombing," Moore said. "It was beyond indescribable."

By the end of the week, Moore had received dozens of calls and emails from clients, friends, colleagues and family members asking if she was okay.

"Everyone knows thatís a piece of me; that defines me, being a runner," she said. "Iím not just a lawyer; Iím a Boston Marathon runner."

Peter McDonough, a hearings examiner at the NH Department of Safety, was running near Boston College when officials stopped the race. McDonough, 71, was ushered into a chapel at the college.

"The police said we canít really go into the particulars, but weíve done this because your safety is at stake," recalled McDonough, who had traveled to Boston with Manchester lawyer Michael Craig and his wife, Joyce, both of whom also competed in the race. Michael Craig said he was at the Four Seasons, the designated meeting spot for his running group from New Hampshire, when the bombs went off. A member of their group, Denise Spenard of Manchester, was hit with shrapnel from one of the bombs but was not seriously injured.

After McDonough spent about an hour waiting in the chapel, with few details about what had happened, his brother, Manchester attorney Paul McDonough, arrived with other family members to pick him up.

NH Supreme Court Justice James Bassett had finished running the marathon about an hour before the bombs exploded and was at a hotel a couple of blocks away. Not knowing what had transpired at the finish line, he and his wife headed toward their car.

"We were trying to get to our car, and then some people ran by us who had blood on them, and they were yelling about what had happened," he said.

Attorney Ron Abramson of Bow told the Concord Monitor that he was guiding an amputee runner at mile 25 when he saw other runners slowing and stopping, instead of making the final push. Word of what had happened finally reached them through others who had been closer to the blasts.

Other NH Bar members had close ties to the tragedy. One New Hampshire defense attorney, who lives in Boston and asked not to be named, was driving home when his wife called to say she was running from the area near the finish line.

"It was such a nightmare experience," he said. "I was so happy when I saw her."

Members of the NH Bar evidently escaped the terror of Mondayís bombings without physical injury, but for some, it may be impossible to overcome the psychological scars.

Thankful to be uninjured, Peter McDonough said he has a lot of candles to light.

"I just think, overall, weíre a lucky group of people," he said.

Justice Bassett said the tragic bombing at the finish line fueled his resolve to run the race again.

"It certainly made me more determined to run next year than I had been," said Bassett, who was running the marathon this year for the first time since 1982.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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