Updated | 1:40 p.m.
I just got off the phone with Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive at Boston Minuteman Council, about yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon.
He said that Council Commissioner Bruce Showstack and his wife, Bonnie, the council’s venturing committee chair, were among the volunteers at yesterday’s race.
Thankfully, Chuck told me that Bruce, Bonnie, and the dozen-or-so Scout volunteers at the race were all safe and accounted for after the explosions that left three people dead and injured more than 170.
Chuck said the Showstacks are one of those “classic Boy Scout families,” volunteering wherever possible. And not just in Scouting.
At the Boston Marathon, Bruce manages the volunteer contingent two blocks from the finish line. Chuck said he could see Bruce on TV during the race, one of the yellow-clad volunteers working in the background.
After the blasts, Chuck wasn’t able to get in touch with Bruce but did hear back from Bonnie, who was “still shaken” but had news that the Scouts and Scouters volunteering at the race were OK.
I’ve reached out to the Showstacks for details of their experience and will update you if and when I hear back from them. Keep checking my blog for updates. (UPDATE: Read my follow-up post to this report, including Bruce and Bonnie’s firsthand account.)
Chuck said he’s been hearing from Scouting friends across the country who were concerned about the Boston council headquarters. Fortunately, Chuck said, the council’s offices are in a Boston suburb, about eight miles from the marathon’s finish line.
But despite their physical distance from the race, everyone in the council — volunteers and professionals — have some link to the marathon.
“There are so many people connected to marathon,” Chuck said. “Whether their dads are running, their moms are running, or they’re spectating.”
True to Scouting values of service, Chuck has already called authorities on behalf of the council to ask what his professional staff and corps of volunteers can do to help. Right now it’s still early, and authorities are looking for answers themselves. But Chuck and the Boston council aren’t waiting to take action.
“We’re getting ready to plan a blood drive in 45 to 60 days,” Chuck said. “The Red Cross is good with blood for now — they have ample reserves. But they anticipate a real shortage 45 to 60 days from now.”
That Boston Minuteman Council-sponsored blood drive will be some time around June 1, so if you live near Boston, please consider donating.
And if you’re far from Boston? Chuck said donating blood is still helpful to boost the supplies in your own community.
“We’re Scouts, so we’re going to be civic-minded and find ways to help,” he said.
I know I speak for the Scouting community when I say we’re keeping the Showstacks and everyone connected to this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers.