April 16, 2013

Locals in Boston stunned by bombings

PLATTSBURGH — The first explosion at the Boston Marathon knocked Dr. Nancy Elwess sideways.

"I do have small cuts from glass (that I treated myself)," she emailed SUNY Plattsburgh Director of Public Relations Michelle Ouellette some hours later, "and I have ringing in the one ear."

The professor of biological sciences at the Plattsburgh college said she was 20 to 30 yards from the finish line when the bomb rocked the street.

"It is a scene that I do not want to witness again."


As news of Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon spread, North Country residents frantically reached out to family and friends in the Boston area.

Among them was Holly Benoit, whose husband, Keith, was competing in his sixth Boston Marathon.

"Thank God his cellphone was working," she said. "I was frantic."

Keith had finished the race about 20 minutes before the explosions and was on a bus headed back to the start of the race in Hopkinton.

"He actually didn't even know what happened until I called him," Holly said.

The Benoits, who live in Plattsburgh, had been in Boston three weeks ago for their daughter's Irish Dancing competition. They were right near the bomb site.

"We recognized all the places we were on television," she said.

"I feel terrible."


When the news broke about the bombs, Sister Debbie Blow got her network working to check on North Country Mission of Hope members who live or were in Boston watching the marathon on Monday.

"So far, everyone we've heard from is fine," she said at about 5:30 p.m.

"It's so unnerving," the executive director of the Plattsburgh-based group said of the violence. "It seems like it never ends."

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