Story: Being the Calm During the Storm

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Photo and story by Dawn Leaks

“I was at the Marathon supporting the Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts,” shared Karen Dudley, Red Cross Volunteer. “I was there when the bombs went of”.  Karen was one of more than 400 Red Cross volunteers staffing first aid tents along the Boston Marathon route the day of the bombings. 

She was stationed at mile marker 21 about five miles from the explosions.  Nearly 150 redirected runners sought shelter in Karen’s first aid tent as they were evacuated from the course. With temperatures dropping and the runners wet from perspiration, Karen and her team had to act quickly. “We had to keep people calm and keep them warm to prevent hypothermia,” Karen explained.  

When it was safe and all of the runners were cared for, Karen made her way to the Red Cross of Eastern MA offices in Cambridge where a full scale relief operation was underway. In the days since, Karen has been working on the relief operation helping to manage community partnerships. “Our partners have really pulled together,” said Karen. “It’s amazing how many government, religious and community agencies are out there and want to help”. 

Though it’s been 11 days, Karen doesn’t mind being away from her home in New Hampshire. “Being on the subway in my Red Cross vest and having strangers come up to say ‘thank you’ makes me proud to be a part of the Red Cross”. 

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