Guest Post: April Activist of the Month Stephanie Blozy

Stephanie Blozy and her team at Fleet Feet West Hartford are being recognized for their amazing efforts in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. Here are her touching reflections from the latest edition of the Fleet Feet newsletter.

What a roller coaster week of emotions it has been. As the events unfolded, I felt like I was watching a spy-thriller movie. Only it wasn’t a movie where you can count on a happy ending. It was all too real. Instead of actors, those affected were friends, customers and colleagues. The community that I cherish was brazenly attacked. It hurt even more that it wasn’t necessarily runners who were the targets, but our family and friends who spectate, support and volunteer.

What happened next was the stuff movies are made of: bystanders using their own jackets and belts to make tourniquets, first responders and medical personnel running towards the explosion sites to help the injured despite the continued threat of danger, while athletes, depleted after running 26.2 miles, raced towards area hospitals to donate blood. Bostonians opened their houses up to strangers. The police and the FBI worked tirelessly and fearlessly to ensure that, just like in the movies, the Good Guys prevailed.

As staffer Schuyler commented, “One act of violence was met with a thousand acts of compassion”. And that made all the difference.

The compassion and perseverance of our community was never more evident that at last night’s Boston Tribute Run that honored the spectators, volunteers, first responders and runners in Boston. What I thought would be a small gathering of runners, blossomed into 450+ participants – young & old, fast & slow, fit & overweight, experienced & beginners – whose generously donated over $7,000 for the One Fund. Local running stores across the nation hosted similar events last night and it is estimated that together we raised $1 Million!

The crowd’s reaction as I introduced our honorees for the evening – Kate Rich, who cheered and high-5’ed runners at this year’s marathon, Melanie Borsari, our Adidas tech rep who was helping at Marathon Sports, a locally-owned running store that was the site of the first bomb, Peter Kot, a police officer for the city of Bristol and Doug Benedetto, who finished his first Boston Marathon less than 30 minutes before the bombs exploded – made me even prouder to be part of such a supportive community.

I got goosebumps as our honorees led the group, American Flag held high, in a meditative ½ mile loop that silently flowed up LaSalle Rd as bystanders clapped and nodded in support. I felt the love of family as we united to sing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, and never got tired of exchanging hugs, smiles and cheers of Boston Strong!

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