DANVERS — Last April 15 started out as a great spring day for nine North Shore residents catching the finish of the Boston Marathon from the patio of Atlantic Fish Company on Boylston Street.
Then two bombs went off.
Amid the carnage, the nine escaped mostly unharmed, and two of them went to the aid of two severely injured children nearby. They turned out to be 8-year-old Martin Richard and his 7-year-old sister, Jane.
They were the children of Bill Richard, a 1988 Salem High graduate, and his wife, Denise, who now live in Dorchester.
Martin died from his injuries; Jane lost a leg.
Now the group of local residents is reuniting Friday, March 21, at Danversport Yacht Club for a fundraiser for the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, created by the Richards to honor their son’s message of “No more hurting people — peace” by investing in education, athletics and community.
Mike Chase, the Danvers High soccer coach, was one of the two men who sprang into action that day. He and a high school friend, Dan Marshall of Danvers, had run into each other by chance on the train that day and ended up having drinks on the patio, he said.
“Then things fell apart, and we went in two different directions. We both ended up trying to support the same family,” Chase said.
Chase used his belt to apply a tourniquet to Jane Richard’s injured leg and helped carry her to an ambulance. Marshall wound up among a group of people kneeling over Martin, trying in vain to save his life. The two also helped clear barricades and pass body boards back to wounded people in the crowd.
Chase wound up briefly comforting Henry Richard, the siblings’ older brother, while his father tended to Jane.
“I can’t make sense of the day,” said Marshall, who said that the day, while horrific, turned into a proud moment for the state in the way that so many people came to the aid of others. “You’ve got to keep living your life. You don’t live your life the way you want it, the terrorists will win.”