Associated Files
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Christie Coombs
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Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Christie Coombs
Contributor
Coombs, Christie (Interviewee)
O'Brien, Joanna Shea (Interviewer)
McDonough, Ryan (Contributor)
Language
English
Date created
January 28, 2014
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. Christie Coombs is a freelance journalist, the Founder and President of the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation, and serves on the Board for the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund (MMHF) and the American Red Cross Blood Services. Christie's husband Jeffrey Coombs died on September 11th, 2001 on American Airlines Flight 11. In this extensive oral history interview, Coombs recounts the day he died, how she told her children, and how her family and the Abington, MA community supported her in the days and weeks that followed. Because the Coombs family was showered with cards, meals, gifts, tickets to concerts and sporting events in the aftermath of September 11th, she and her children decided to pay it forward by hosting a yard sale for non-traditional 9/11 families who had not received as much support, including gay couples, immigrant families, and adult children of 9/11 victims. Their first event was a yard sale and auction that raised $50,000, and that effort evolved into the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation, which continues to raise and donate money to people in need affected by any adverse circumstances as well as provide scholarships for Abington students. Since its founding, the foundation has raised more than $350,000. Christie also hosts an annual Christmas party at Gillette Stadium (in Foxboro, MA) for the families of Massachusetts soldiers deployed overseas in the fight against terrorism, as well as for families whose soldier had died while serving Christie was at the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15th, 2013 to support the runners for her charity as well as runners for the MMHF when the bombs detonated. She describes the first and second explosions and thinking it might be a terrorist attack, but she dismissed that as ridiculous, until she remembered her family was already victim to terrorist attacks on American soil. She helped a police officer pull down the barricade as he was ordering people to get out of the chute area at the finish line. She describes her efforts to reconnect with her daughter, Meg, who had separated from her only a half hour before near the finish line. Christie also discusses her efforts to help families who were victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, talking to them about how to get through the holidays, the difficulty in making sure that the terrorist attack and the victims are not forgotten yet still memorialized in an appropriate reflective way as well as her friendship with Carlos Arredondo and other marathon families.
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. Christie Coombs (Oral History), Joanna Shea O'Brien (Oral Historian and 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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