how to get Jeff back in action was fantastic.
You could see the excitement in Jeff’s face.
The high point of our trip came later,
when we accompanied Jeff to his rehab
appointment at Spaulding Rehabilitation
Hospital in Boston.
The brand-new facility—opened just
days before the marathon bombs went off—is
incredible. We watched as Jeff took tentative
steps with his new prosthetic legs. I was
impressed. I had a tough time learning to use
my prosthesis. If he was struggling with those
sorts of emotions, I didn’t see it on his face.
Instead, he looked determined and calm. I
also admired the way his therapist challenged
him, pushing him toward independence.
I quietly chatted with Brian Comeau, a
friend of Jeff’s who is front-office manager at
The Colonnade Hotel, where Byron and I
stayed. All around the facility, physical therapists worked with other amputees; several
were Boston Marathon bomb survivors. We
were awed at the sense of mission in the staff
at Spaulding. There was an intense feel-good
vibe in the room, as skilled therapists used
state-of-the-art equipment and advanced
techniques to rebuild lives.
After Jeff finished his physical therapy, we
went to drop off a care package that Kevin
had brought from Costco. In the reception
area, we ran into several other bomb survivors. It was an impromptu reunion of about
eight bomb survivors, not counting mothers,
fathers, significant others and extended family. We all lingered in the hallway talking for
nearly two hours. The sense of camaraderie
was thick, as survivors reconnected, sharing
notes on their individual recoveries.
But the moment was especially poignant
because, while nobody planned the meeting,
it felt like God had set it up. The sense of
encouragement, friendship and love in the
room was powerful. Most of us were blinking
back tears off and on the entire time.
Byron and I spent time talking to some
parents and caregivers of bomb victims about
life after limb loss. “I started today off with a
three-mile run through the city,” I said to one
parent, whose son lost a leg below the knee, as
I did 23 years ago.
We also tried to answer questions about
the cost of prosthetic care. “I didn’t even have
insurance when I lost my leg,” I explained.
“Prosthetic care is really expensive, but one way
or another, it has always worked out for me, and
I’m sure with people donating to the Boston
One fund, there are financial resources
to start with.”
Byron also shared stories about
recent feats on dirt bikes, as well as his farming
and work life. “You could almost feel the stress
and fear lift,” Byron said later, at lunch with Jeff
The best part is that Jeff, who doctors
jokingly say has the healing power of
Wolverine (the popular X-Men character), is
getting stronger and more mobile each week.
His positive attitude and determination are
an inspiration to many. To me, his
real strength is that he’s not bitter
about his loss. He’s moving for-
ward. That’s strength. C
Every element of our trip to Boston to
visit Jeff Bauman was very special.
From Costco telling us they would be
sending us, to the moment we landed
back in Seattle, it felt like something
much bigger than any single person’s
effort was at work to bring a group of
amazing people together. When I got
home, the following email from Brian
Comeau, a friend of Jeff’s, was waiting
for me. It captures the spirit of our visit.
You have no idea how awesome it was seeing all of those
survivors look at you guys as motivation. As a Bostonian,
even though I was not a victim, it was a serious blow to
see all of those people hurt during the marathon. The fact
you guys were able to inspire them and give them hope
I could see it in Jeff’s face how much it meant to him
to have you guys around all weekend.
I’m glad you enjoyed your time in the city and I hope we
keep in touch.
Kevin Horst, general manager of
the Nashua, New