Was there anyone who came out of the woodwork you hadn't seen in forever, or someone you reconnected with because of this whole experience?
So many old teachers and coaches ... I went back to Thorpe (Elementary School) and to the Middle School and saw teachers I had when I was 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, then as a teenager ... it was nice to be able to talk to them and share my experiences.
Did it ever get overhwhelming?
The only day that was overwhelming for me — but it was a good thing — was the parade (held in her honor in Danvers this past March). I was taken aback and so emotional from all the support from people. It was one of the best days of my life. To see that many people in town, thanking and hugging you ... it was overwhelming. People I hadn't seen in years I saw that day. By the end of the day, I was at the (Danversport) Yacht Club and started crying on my Mom's shoulder, saying 'It's too much' — not in a bad way, but just in the sense that it was so much I hadn't expected. The emotions I had and the love I was feeling from everyone was incredible.
How about some of the places you've been to away from Danvers?
Right when we got back, my teammates and I took a little R&R vacation down in St. Thomas. We rented this house, 14 of us, and we came to find out it was a house that President Clinton had stayed in a few times. We had a girl on our team who worked the system and got us a great deal down there; it was phenomenal.
Did anyone recognize you there?
Not really. We went out one night — St. Patrick's Day — to dinner and were partying and someone had their medal, which is why someone recognized us. Other than that we had time to ourselves, which is what we wanted. We mostly stayed at our private beach and allowed ourselves to enjoy each other's company. It was basically 14 of my best friends and I down in the Caribbean, and it was a blast.