Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Now I'm 29.

I turned 29 in Boston last month. I traveled back to Boylston Street, where I basically lived the 9 days in February, after the marathon bombing, coordinating, interviewing, editing, running and driving around, producing the news, but I never actually got to see the bombing sites, because they weren't open to the press or public until the day after I got back to New York. So this time, on May 13th, we went straight there and took a good, slow walk up and down. We looked at where the blasts happened, and where memorials people had previously set up on either side of the finish line have been organized and arranged into a shrine at Copley Square

I spent that day interviewing an awesome prosthetic maker. He helped us get permission to interview some of his patients so we could hear about living without one or multiple limbs. It was powerful, moving stuff, and they spoke beautifully! Sadly, it didn't make the final cut. Seems a waste. 

Anyway, he also set us up with another interview the next morning with a Paralympic gold medalist named Joe Lemar. He is an amputee runner, and I don’t mean he lost an arm! 

He too was incredibly inspiring to hear talk about the strength of conviction, because he won his gold medal less than two years after his amputation! The next day, I met three of the actual marathon bombing survivors, but only one had time to grant us an interview. Luckily for him, relatively I mean, he did not lose a leg, but he had some serious hardware screwed into one leg and burns on both. He was training hard at his physical therapy, but as a craft beer bartender, he perked up when I asked him what styles he liked and if he home-brewed (he did!). The hardest part about his convalesces, he said, was not being allowed to enjoy a tasty beer, but by the time his current batch matures, he said happily, he will be well enough again to enjoy it.   

When I came home, I received some very nice birthday gifts from my family and friends, but this year the winner is definitely Wendy, who got me a bike lock to go with the bike I got myself, and of all things… a kit to brew my own beer!

I didn't get to enjoy either one that week, because I needed to buy a helmet for the bike, and an extra pot for brewing my beer, but before that could happen, a huge tornado hit an elementary school in Oklahoma, so once again, I grabbed a change of clothes from my locker and flew out the door!

By 2 a.m. we were broadcasting live from South Oklahoma City, only 2 miles from the path of the F-5 tornado that ripped across Moore, OK, and as the sun came up and we moved to a better position, we could start to see some of the real damage along the path of the tornado.
My words don’t really do it justice so I’ll just throw some pictures in and mention that they are from the area around the Moore Medical Center and Briarwood Elementary School, one of two elementary schools hit. This one had some injuries, but luckily, no loss of life.
Homes across from the Moore Medical Center
Homes across the street from Briarwood Elementary School
Behind what was a nice pond is what's left of Briarwood's gym. The school is to the left behind the man walking by.
When I came home I got to relax a bit. I watched my friend Tim play Paris in Romeo and Juliette, rode my bike, brewed that beer, and just Saturday, we had a pub crawl with other former JETs in Brooklyn and we all wore our yukata and jinbei!

That’s what I've been up to. Hope it was interesting and worth the wait!