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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BEMCo volunteering at Marathon finish line unharmed after attack

Published: April 19, 2013
Section: News

Brandeis students, including three BEMCo EMTs, were in attendance at the Boston Marathon on Monday, when two bombs exploded in the crowd. All of the students were safe and unharmed after the blasts.

Hannah Goldberg ’13, director and supervisor of BEMCo, mentioned that volunteering at the Boston Marathon is something BEMCo has done for years. While they usually have more volunteers, this year there were only three Brandeis EMTs.

“They’re part of the speed team at the end of the Marathon,” said Goldberg. “They quickly assess each marathon runner, see if they look okay, look healthy and if some look dehydrated.”

Ami Merker ’15, who was present at the marathon, commented that everything was going according to plan until the first blast. “At first, I couldn’t really believe it had happened. Everyone stopped moving and was just watching,” said Merker. “Then the volunteers started to get people moving, we wanted to move people out of the area. I was also really worried because I knew that my friend was right next to the finish line.”

Of the three BEMCo students present, each stood varying distances away from the incident. “I was about two blocks from the explosion, one of my friends was about 100 feet and the other was a few blocks away and around the corner,” said Merker.

Goldberg recalls fearing for their safety.

“The other supervisor called me, but the phone lines were not working well, I spent an hour and a half trying to talk to them. It was pretty scary. I just wanted to make sure everyone, especially the people I knew, were alright,” she said.

Merker described his initial reaction of shock and disbelief.

“I think that I am quite shocked by it. I still can’t really believe that I was there to witness it.”

“People just stopped,” said Merker, continuing to describe the ordeal. “After a while, as we were leaving the scene and around other parts of Boston, people were acting relatively normal. I found it interesting that my friends and I were trying to leave Boston, and others were just leisurely walking around,” she said. Merker and the other EMTs were not officially evacuated.

Merker praises the police and their dedication. “The police officers were asking everyone to clear the streets so that ambulances and other officers could come to the scene,” she said. “It really is impressive, the togetherness the emergency responders showed in order to save as many lives as possible.”

Both Merker and Goldberg praised the efforts that the people of Boston are making to honor the victims, such as the “Wear Red for Boston” or “Walk for Boston” movements.

“We live right outside of Boston and I think that it is important to show our support to this great city and the people that were injured and the families of those killed,” said Merker. “The walking and running for Boston is a great idea to show the terrorist that events like these will bring the people of Boston and other parts of the country together to help each other.”

Goldberg echoed Merker’s sentiments.

“Tragedies bring people together, and the story about the blood drives being packed the next day was great. Tragedies make us appreciate things we take for granted.”