BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Volunteers can play a huge role for a huge undertaking like the Boston Marathon; they’re one thing that can “make or break” an event. Several volunteers at this year’s marathon told WPRI.com it was important to them to be a part of this year’s race in particular.
Everywhere you looked along the race course, or at meeting stations along the way, there are friendly faces looking to help with this and that — 10,000 volunteers in all. Last year was Melissa Dang’s first year volunteering, in the Medical Records division — and remembers what a shock the deadly terror attacks were.
“It shook up a lot of feelings, because I’m actually from Boston, and I grew up here. And with this being my home — it wasn’t okay,” she said.
Still, it was her calling to return and help again: “Coming back here — just facing my fears — and making better memories — [are some] of the reasons why I came back.”
Sports massage therapists Yvonne and Roger Fey came all the way from Toledo, Ohio. It’s Yvonne’s fifth volunteering appearance at a Boston Marathon; she’s also worked with the U.S. Olympic team, and even in New York City during the terror attacks of September 11, 2011.
“Doing sports massage with the athletes, I will be very aware,” of all the many different meanings Monday’s happenings can carry, she said. “Were they here last year, or did they have a loved one, et cetera… And I’ll be able to add some extra massage techniques to balance them out.”
“It’s kind of a unique year this year, because of the tragedy last year,” said Roger. “The fact that we love the event itself… We wanted to come back, but of course with what has happened — We thought it would be a very special time to come back here.”
Marathon Monday is a very long day for volunteers. Many got into place early in the morning at sun-up — and some won’t leave until after the runner crosses the finish line.