Locals share in shock of Boston Marathon

Published 1:33 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

On April 15, when we first heard reports that two explosions had gone off at the Boston Marathon’s finish line, we were shocked and saddened that anyone would carry out such a vile act, one that intentionally injured many people and killed at least three.

When our sports reporter Mickel Ponthieux realized that some of the Boston Marathon runners were Shelby County residents, we jumped into action. We began compiling a list of everyone that we knew was a county resident and attended the marathon, and tried to find ways to confirm their safety.

Ponthieux and Neal Wagner worked together to report and gather information, and did a stunning job. Within an hour or so, we were able to confirm the safety of five out of the six county residents we knew were at the marathon.

Ponthieux also spent hours making dozens of phone calls to try to ascertain the status of Montevallo resident Sally Evenden. We found out mere minutes before we sent this paper to be printed that Evenden is, indeed, safe and sound — a fact for which we are incredibly thankful.

Daniel McBrayer, a Pelham native and an assistant district attorney for Shelby County, said the scene was “surreal,” although he thankfully was not near the explosions when they occurred. McBrayer competed in the marathon, and finished running about an hour before the explosions went off.

“It was a great marathon … I just hate that it had to be marred by something awful like this,” McBrayer said.

I couldn’t agree with him more. The Boston Marathon is an important piece of American history, and it’s cowardly and disgusting that anyone would use the marathon, in which more than 27,000 people race and where countless more gather annually, as a launching pad for these horrifying attacks.

I am so thankful that the Shelby County residents we know of who traveled to the marathon are safe and sound. They will be able to come back home to Alabama no worse for the wear.

Unfortunately, at least 170 people — including at least three dead, one of whom was an 8-year-old boy — can’t say the same.

Amy Jones is the Associate Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 30 or by email at amy.jones@shelbycountyreporter.com.