Runners unite for Boston victims at 5K
June 6, 2013
By Nathan Deen
FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 5, 2013) -- When the report came in that suspected terrorist bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev was hiding in a boat on Franklin Street in Watertown, Mass., Richard Munger, a retired Soldier who went through basic training at Fort Benning and now serves with the Watertown Police Department, was the first to arrive on the scene.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who along with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was allegedly responsible for exploding bombs April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Munger and fellow law enforcement officers held Dzhokar at bay until SWAT teams eventually took him into custody.
Munger and Watertown police officer Miguel Colon, who engaged Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a shootout that resulted in the suspect's death the night before his brother's arrest, were the guests of honor Saturday as about 200 people showed up to honor those lost in the Boston Tragedy in the Runners United for Boston 5K at Hollis Hand Elementary School in LaGrange, Ga.
Munger and Colon were presented plaques of gratitude from LaGrange mayor Jeff Lukken.
Race coordinator Garrett Pressley, who serves with the LaGrange Police Department, said he wanted to do more than just donate something out of pocket to the Boston relief funds.
"My first notion was to donate $100 or $200, but then I thought, 'This is a chance for our community to do something special,'" he said.
Pressley estimated the event raised about $5,000 and he will donate all proceeds to onefundboston.org. When he decided to create the 5K, he started working his phone to try to get a guest from Boston to attend, he said.
"I was just trying to get anybody from Boston to come down," he said. "I got a phone call from the Watertown Police Department … it was a blessing from the skies.
"What these guys did was unheard of. As soon as shots are fired, your mind goes into a different mode. They weren't just getting shot at, they were getting bombs thrown at them. It wasn't really a police situation. It was more like an act of war. I've been shot at as a police officer … but I've never been in anything like that."
Bill Lockard, a retired lieutenant colonel who ran in the race and has been in marathons, said the attacks hit home with him, even though he had never ran in the Boston Marathon. He said he was amazed to hear what the two visiting officers had gone through in a 24-hour period.
"The citations (on the plaques) they read were like something you would experience in Iraq," Lockard said. "Those guys are heroes."
Munger, who has been on the Watertown force for 22 years and grew up in Boston, said the small town of LaGrange charmed him.
"It's been unbelievable," Munger said. "The hospitality has been great. We haven't had to pay for anything since we've been here. No one will take our money."
There's not really any way for the city of Boston to move past the tragedy, he said, but seeing the support from other communities has encouraged him.
"With a small town like Watertown, you'd never expect that to happen," he said. "The whole country breathed a sigh of relief (when Dzhokar Tsarnaev was caught). Everyone slept good that night."