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December 31, 2013

Tragedy and hope in 2013

Top stories of the year a mix of highs and lows

(Continued)

Marathon bombings hit North Shore

The savage act of hate and violence that was the Boston Marathon bombings reverberates. What’s remarkable is how often people have turned that evil into something positive.

Many locals were in the vicinity of the two blasts. Danvers High coach Mike Chase and custodian Dan Marshal, for example, plunged into the bloody scene. Chase helped carry a child to an ambulance. Marshall was among those fighting vainly to save 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester.

“It’s extremely sad,” said Marshall. “I wish I could’ve helped more.”

In the days that followed, thousands rallied to support the victims. Bill Richard, a Salem High graduate, not only lost his son, his wife suffered brain damage, and his daughter was severely injured. A Salem Five fund was part of a national effort to support those maimed by the attack.

Stephen Woolfenden of Salem was critically injured, while son Leo, a preschooler, was also hit while waiting to see mom, Amber, cross the finish line. Weeks later, area runners held a “fun run” to honor them, and another fund was established.

Salem State graduate and MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed days after the marathon, allegedly by the bombers. He was remembered posthumously, his name attached to an award at MIT. Salem fire Capts. Dennis Levasseur and Kevin Koen were recognized at the state Firefighters of the Year Awards for responding at the scene.

When a state trooper, Sgt. Sean Murphy, was punished for answering Rolling Stone’s glamor shot of one of the accused killers by leaking one depicting his ignoble capture, Marbleheader Lisa Beloff rallied behind Murphy with a website.

It would be impossible to name all those who have tried to help. For the remainder of the year, security was stepped up at Fourth of July celebrations and on Halloween in Salem. But remarkably, as the months wore on, the streets and fields of the North Shore filled with the shouts and laughter of those meant to be terrorized.

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