Associated Files
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Jimmy Plourde (Full Interview)
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Jimmy Plourde. Clip 1
Contributor
Plourde, Jimmy (Interviewee)
Guberman, Jayne (Interviewer)
O'Brien, Joanna Shea (Recordist)
McDonough, Ryan (Contributor)
Language
English
Date created
December 19, 2013
Type of resource
Sound recording
Genre
Interviews
Oral histories (document genres)
Format
Sound Recording
Digital origin
born digital
Abstract/Description
Countless lives were affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath. The WBUR Oral History Project collects stories from individuals whose lives were immediately and irrevocably changed by these events. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of WBUR, our team of oral historians, and the participation of these interview subjects, Our Marathon has tried to ensure that these stories are not forgotten. We believe that these stories matter, and that they demonstrate the ways historical events transform the lives of the people who lived through them. Oral historians Jayne K. Guberman, Ph.D., and Joanna Shea O'Brien conducted the interviews for this project. Oral History Project Manager Kristi Girdharry, Our Marathon Project Co-Director Jim McGrath, and Community Outreach Lead Joanne DeCaro recorded the interviews and provided research assistance and post-interview processing. McGrath and Our Marathon Audio Technician Ryan McDonough provided sound editing and processing for all of the interviews and clips. The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project. Jimmy Plourde, a Boston firefighter stationed in Jamaica Plain, describes himself as "born into" firefighting. He describes typical situations that he and his fellow firefighters deal with, including accidents, fires, and health emergencies. In the past Jimmy has served as an EMT at the Boston Marathon. This year he was part of the fire detail, stationed between Arlington and Dartmouth Streets. When the first bomb exploded, Jimmy immediately ran down the marathon route, ducked beneath the railings, and emerged to a scene of utter devastation. He quickly helped Bruce Mendelsohn tie a tourniquet around the leg of a young woman, Victoria McGrath. He then scooped her up and ran towards the medical tent - an image caught by a photographer that became one of the iconic photos of the bombings. Returning to the scene, he helped as many people as he could. Jimmy notes that it took eighteen minutes to clear the scene, a rapid response that has become a case study in the first responder world. Jimmy discusses what the firefighters were doing in the hours that followed, including a meeting of first responders convened by the Critical Incidents Stress Management Team, a peer network, to talk about what had happened. At the fire station in Boston's theater district, they all stripped down and sat in a circle discussing their experiences. Jimmy describes the personal impact of these events: his changing views of the iconic photo that made him an instantly recognizable symbol of first responders; his struggles to cope with the onslaught of resulting media attention; his emotional reunion with Victoria McGrath, which gave him living proof that he had made a difference; and a sense of intense gratitude coupled with personal vulnerability, knowing that his family had been standing at the finish line till moments before the first bomb exploded. Jimmy also discusses the importance of the ongoing support that he and other first responders received. "Boston Strong," he felt, helped bring the community as a whole together emotionally. Regarding the bombers, he feels they accomplished nothing other than strengthening the community and bringing it together.
Notes
The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project.
Source note
The WBUR Oral History Project. Jimmy Plourde (Oral History), Jayne Guberman (Oral Historian), Joanna Shea O'Brien (Recorder), Ryan McDonough (Sound Editing and Processing)
Related item
Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive
Subjects and keywords
Boston Marathon Bombing, Boston, Mass., 2013
Permanent URL
Use and reproduction
Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to Our Marathon (marathon@neu.edu) and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. Commercial use of content is prohibited. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

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