hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


April 18, 2013

City man witnessed horror of Boston Marathon bombings

Feared for members of his volunteer group at event


”At about 2:05 p.m., at the 13-mile mark, the course had officially reopened to traffic,” LaBrode said. “We have a van and a bus, we were picking up the mile markers and volunteers, and we were making our way towards Boston.”

Then came news that something had gone terribly wrong.

About 3 p.m., LaBrode learned there were two blasts at the finish line, which was still miles ahead of him.

”I’m thinking it was fireworks, some celebration of some sort,” said LaBrode, who still had eight more stops to make to pick up his remaining team members.

”Somewhere between the 19- and 20-mile mark we were diverted off course due to a suspicious package on Commonwealth Ave.,” he said. “I had a trio of college-age kids working for the first time at mile marker 20 and I was very concerned about them.”

LaBrode’s bus was diverted, but was able to continue on its route for a short distance.

”We got in touch with them (the volunteers) and told them to walk to the 21-mile mark, where we picked them up,” he said. “But I still had seven more markers to go.”

Just past mile marker 21, near Boston College, everything was shut down and there were police everywhere, he said.

”They blocked the road and we were told we could go no further,” he said. “It was very much surrealistic, like a movie. They took names and bib numbers and they had a medical area set up in a church.

”People were being bused to a Catholic church at BC (Boston College) and runners were no longer permitted to continue,” he said.

LaBrode worried about the remaining members of his team he was unable to reach.

”They were my people and they were counting on me to be on that bus to pick them up,” he said. “I did not want to abandon them with no instructions as to what to do.”

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