Reaction from State and National Leaders
(U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.) “Gayle and I join all West Virginians and Americans in praying for the victims of the horrific explosions in Boston. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Boston community, Massachusetts and our nation as we cope with the terrifying incidents at the Boston Marathon. Once again, in the midst of chaos in an American city, we saw heroism from our brave first responders and volunteers. We don’t know all the details yet, but it appears this was a senseless act of violence aimed at innocent people who come from all over the world, including dozens from West Virginia, for this special sporting event. We cannot allow cowardice to go unchallenged. We will not allow it to go unpunished.”
(West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin) "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by today's tragic events in Boston. We are monitoring information through the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center. No specific threats to West Virginia have been identified at this time."
(West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey) "My heart is heavy today as I read reports coming out of Boston. I am praying for the victims as well as the families of people who were killed or injured in this cowardly attack. The Boston Marathon is a signature and historic event intended to celebrate Patriots Day, and on this day, all Americans need to come together to fight any type of insane attack that targets innocent people.”
UPDATE 4/15/13 @ 11:35 p.m.
HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Deadly explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon echoed deep into the heart of our region's running community.
Several people from the area competed Monday in the Boston Marathon, while others have connections to the storied race.
Lisa Dundervill is counting her blessings, thankful that her husband Bob is safe and sound after finishing the most tragic marathon in American history.
“I think it’s a little unreal for him and a little scary,” she said. “To think that he’s actually there when it's going on.”
While thousands of families were left in painful suspense, Lisa says she was lucky to never have a moment of doubt. She’s grateful that her phone rang before she even learned of the explosions or had a chance to worry.
“He actually called me because he heard the explosions and didn’t know what it was,” she said. “He wanted to know if I was near a computer so I could look it up.”
When she found out what did happen, Lisa says she was overwhelmed on behalf of Bob -- a doctor who ran the marathon with several other physicians in Charleston. She says he finished the race an hour before the explosions hit but hadn’t had much contact beyond the initial call.
But she says her heart goes out to the other families across the country who got a very different sort of phone call.
“It could have been him,” she said. “So it’s always a little unnerving when that reality hits you.”
Bob is scheduled to fly home to Charleston Tuesday. Lisa says he’s a passionate marathon runner who won’t let the tragedy stop him from competing again.
Meanwhile, Pat Riley has a website dedicated to local running. He ran in the Boston Marathon two years ago. He says he knows about 15 people from West Virginia who were at the marathon Monday.
"Every time I get a text or phone call and we can account for one more person from West Virginia that we know is safe up in Boston right now, we feel a little better, and we thank God," Riley said Monday afternoon.
One of those runners is Jill Goodwin, a medical student at Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, who says she was only two blocks from the first explosion.
"It was just kind of a really loud heavy sound," Goodwin said. "Then we heard the second one, and it was more concerning. We just tried to clear the area as quickly as we could."
Aubrey Morris from Teays Valley, W.Va., says her parents Jeff and Joy Ranson were in Boston Monday. Jeff was running, and Joy was volunteering at the marathon.
Morris says she got several text messages from friends, asking if her parents were OK before she'd learned about the explosions.
Morris says she was crying all evening and was extremely grateful when she talked with her parents on the phone and learned they were OK.
"I mean, there was no mistaking it for anything other than an explosion," Melissa Orders said. "I think people wanted it to be something else."
Her husband Nate finished the marathon in a little more than three hours. The explosions happened about an hour later.
"Just nervous," Melissa said when asked how she was feeling early Monday evening. "Some hotels have been evacuated, and apparently they have closed the airspace. I am more concerned about being able to get home."
University of Charleston Professor Brad Deel also finished Monday's marathon.
Deel said there were layers of security everywhere. He explained he would have normally stuck around the finish line to cheer other runners on, but the cold and windy conditions sent him straight to his car to get his jacket.
"Never ever felt threatened or unsafe," Deel said. "I mean, it was really up until I got that phone call with my wife. I was having a terrific experience."
According to statistics from the Boston Marathon website, there are 46 runners from West Virginia, 120 runners from Kentucky and 680 from Ohio who participated in Monday's event.