Above and Beyond
In the moments after the first bomb went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, many heroic deeds were performed. Among them was when one BSU student looked to the nearby carnage, turned to his cohort and said, “Let’s go," before joining the other first responders and racing to help the wounded and dying.
Such is the bravery shown by five athletic training students and Professor Kimberly Wise, who had spent the day working triage inside the tent just beyond the finish line. The students are Jordan DaSilva, Tom Doucette, Joe Sanford, Jordan Leonard, all class of 2014; and Bethany Forshaw, G ’13.
Recently the “Wise Five,” as they’ve been dubbed, gathered in the conference room of the Tinsley Center with their professor, who is in her first full semester as a full-time faculty member at BSU after serving as a visiting lecturer for more than a year. They agreed to discuss that fateful day on Boylston Street, sharing their thoughts as a group, so that no one would be singled out.
The members of the BSU contingent were spread around the tent that afternoon, taking turns helping ailing runners deal with the effects of navigating the 26.2-mile course. Each considered working at the marathon “an opportunity unlike anything else,” due to the concentration of athletes and wide variety of medical issues they’d encounter.
Once the first bomb went off, Professor Wise saw some of the students running toward the devastation. Her impulse, being the one responsible for their safety, was to stop them, but when that was clearly impossible, she said to herself, “We’re going in.” She followed.
Their memories of those moments are painful; they exist as “snapshots,” and at the time seemed surreal. There was no conception of time. Instinct took over.
“We were already in the mode of helping people,” one of the students explained. Diving in to assist the critically injured was just “second nature.”
“People who were helpless needed help,” another student said. “It’s our job to help people.”
“If I were lying there hurt I’d hope that people would come and help me,” another said. “Sometimes just being with someone in those moments can make the difference between life and death.”
What seemed chaotic on television was, on the ground, much more controlled the students agreed. Medical professionals did their jobs. The result was that many lives were likely saved, especially when one considers that the time between the first explosion to the dispatch of the 96th victim to a local hospital was only 22 minutes.
The cohort and professor Wise met with President Dana Mohler-Faria so he could thank them for their service. “It was truly heartwarming to listen to their story and to learn of their heroism,” the president said.
The students said the events of April 15 will stay with them, but also that it has only strengthened their commitment to the field they’ve decided to dedicate their lives to.
“It told me I chose the right profession,” one said.
Added another, “It reaffirms for me that I picked the right career.”
Professor Wise said the aftermath of the Boston Marathon left its mark on her.
“The heroism of these students is a sight I will always remember,” she said.
Yet, the students remain humble, even as others draw inspiration from their selfless acts of bravery on that day. As one of the students said, “It’s just what we do.” (Photo submitted, story by John Winters, G ’11, University Advancement)