MINOCQUA - Co-workers of Matt Thomas hugged him more today than they ever have before.
He's a Minocqua runner who finished his fourth Boston Marathon just before two explosions killed three and injured almost two hundred of people.
"It was just completely different," Thomas said.
Thomas finished his fourth Boston Marathon Monday on what he called a perfect day to run.
Watching for two other Lakeland area friends to come to the finish line…
He said it was like loud, close fireworks or a Revolutionary War style cannon.
"People were like, is that normal? I said, 'I've been here for four years, and I've never seen anything like that'. I think it was about 20 seconds later, but , I don't know, time kind of goes funny, then, in that situation, the second explosion went off," Thomas said.
That was when he knew it was no accident, and no celebration.
"People got blown into the course, and the barricades got blown over by the blast. Right away, by seeing what had happened to the people and the barricades coming out into the course, you knew something was not right," said Thomas.
He looked around him for backpacks or trash cans that could be another bomb, and didn't see any.
Because of that, he decided not to move from his spot a couple hundred yards from the explosions.
Instead, he watched the emergency workers rushing to help.
"It was pretty incredible. To see the response - when the second blast went off, the first police cars and the first fire trucks, first two fire trucks and ambulance were there within seconds," Thomas said.
Boylston Street, once packed with thousands of people, was nearly deserted.
That took just minutes.
But it took closer to hours for the entire Northwoods group to reunite - all of them totally safe.
Thomas could take at least one positive from Monday - his marathon time qualifies him for next year's Boston.
So will he go back to run at that same place?
"My view is, I'm going to run Boston because, if you don't run Boston, then you're giving the people who did this exactly what they wanted which is, you're afraid of doing things you normally did," he said.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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