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Bakersfield couple remembers Boston Marathon Bombing five years later

Posted at 7:12 AM, Apr 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-15 14:06:00-04

Sunday marks five years since the Boston Marathon Bombing, the terrorist attack that killed three people and injured more than 250.

A Bakersfield couple witnessed the bombs go off on the tragic day that forever changed their lives. 

Since 2006, Hope Roe has run 22 marathons. The ER nurse rarely repeats races; with the exception of one. 

"There is no marathon like Boston," Roe said. "There is nothing like it."

Five years after the Boston Marathon Bombing, she remembers that day vividly. Roe traveled from Bakersfield to Boston for that race on April 15, 2013, for what would be her second Boston Marathon. She ran her first one in 2011.

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Roe's husband, Dennis, has been to nearly all Hope's races.

"My job is basically her support team," Dennis said.

So for the 2013 race, they planned to meet in the same spot they did in 2011 - about a block from the finish line just before she gets her medal, so he can take her picture. 

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Dennis said started out that morning directly across the street from where the second bomb was.

"I didn't know that at the time," Dennis said.

Just minutes after Dennis snapped a picture of his wife, the bombs went off. 

Hope pulled out her phone and realized her phone battery was dead. With no phone to reach her husband, she started retracing her steps to where she saw Dennis last.

Miraculously, the two found each other within minutes. 

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Hope, a travel ER nurse, and Dennis, a now-retired Bakersfield firefighter, were compelled to help that day. 

"Because I'm an ER nurse, and I didn't do anything, I've always felt a little guilty," Hope said.

After hearing how efficient Massachusetts General Hospital was with helping the bombing victims, Hope knew how she could give back to Boston.

"When I called for the interview at Mass General, I told them that was one of the things I wanted to work there for," Roe said. "Because I knew how hard it is to get a crowded ER and then you have to empty it for all those people that are coming through."

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After nearly 30 years with BFD, Dennis retired in April 2015. The couple moved to Boston in October that year. Hope was able to give back to Boston by working at Mass General.

Hope went on to run in the Boston Marathon again in 2016 and 2017. She's already looking forward to the 125th marathon in 2021.

The Roes have since moved back to Bakersfield, but they're hoping to move to Boston permanently in a few years, saying the city has always felt like home.