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White Jackets

Unless you are living under a rock, you all know that this Monday 4/21 is the Boston Marathon. The marathon has always been a very special day for me. I’ve missed maybe 6 Boston marathons in my 30+ years. As a kid growing up, my Mom started taking my sister and me to the marathon when we were in strollers! We would pack a lunch, stop at the super market for several gallons of water and then head to Wellesley to stand in the street and hand out water in little paper cups. We would get such a thrill when the runners would take our cups for a quick drink or even better dump the water over their heads! Some years, we’d take a walk along the race route to see the official water stations, and I was seriously impressed by one thing. The official jackets! I never had any desire to run a marathon, but boy did I always want one of those cool jackets.

Fast forward to maybe 2005ish, there I was wearing my official marathon jacket standing with a wheel chair as a certified athletic trainer at the finish line. I felt so excited and honored to be volunteering at one of my favorite events. I learned a lot that day and met some wonderful friends and mentors. I’ve only volunteered on Marathon Monday maybe once or twice more and have decided that being a spectator with my family is more my speed. But boy do I love my jackets.

Last year, 2013, my sister and both had obligations on marathon Monday but we made sure to get to Wellesley for a few hours with a couple gallons of water and a sleeve of Dixie cups. When the jugs were empty, we left and I went to work a per diem tennis match at Curry College. Mid-match, I got the alert on my phone about the bombs it was very confusing. However, suddenly it became clear why all the players’ phones kept ringing in the racquet bags. Sitting there and keeping it together all the while knowing that my friends and colleagues were the closest and probably the first to respond to the injuries was very difficult. When I got home and turned on the news, seeing my friends in those special white jackets tearing down barriers and tending to the victims I became very emotional. What they went through that day… no one should have to deal with that. I felt like something very special was taken away from me that day. I feared that one of my favorite days of the year would always be tainted by this act of terror and that hurt.

But then something else happened. The city became Boston Strong. We sang the national anthem loud and proud at the Bruins game. Big Papi said, “This is our F@#$%^& City!”, and there was an outpouring of ATs volunteering to cover for those who needed some time off to heal. We all came together. The 2014 marathon has more volunteers than ever before which means more people will have the opportunity to wear the jacket and represent how strong and good Bostonians are. We turned tragedy into positivity and this we will never forget. Woot Woot for the 2014 Boston Marathon, all its runners and especially all its white jackets!

Nichole Mercier says:

April 27, 2014 at 9:46 pm

I totally understand that feeling of the white jacket!! It was such an amazing experience this year to put on that jacket and help those runners and even more amazingly having runners thanking us as they came across that finish line!!

Kevin says:

April 22, 2014 at 10:33 am

Thanks for sharing that story.

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