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WBUR Oral History Project: Alicia Shambo

Alicia Shambo

Interviewed by: Jayne Guberman

Date: December 4, 2013

Location: Hopkington, MA

Recorder: Kristi Girdharry

Photo: Alicia Shambo (Photo by Brittany Shambo)




Alicia Shambo, a long-time resident of Hopkinton, Massachusetts,is a business woman and mother of three children. A fervent supporter of the US military, Alicia was a hospital corpsman during her four years of active duty in the US Navy and later taught CPR and EMT courses as a reservist.

As a resident of Hopkinton, Alicia and her family have always participated in the community activities at the starting point for the Boston Marathon. In 2012, she began working at the finish line handing out mylar blankets to runners. She describes the volunteers’ exultation in the “perfect day” for the 2013 race and the emotional singing of the national anthem before they all took their stations. When the first bomb exploded, Alicia ran towards the scene, where she quickly became part of the team in the medical tent.

Alicia describes her first contact with Victoria McGrath, a seriously injured Northeastern student, whom she accompanied in the ambulance to Tufts Medical Center. She describes their emotional meeting several days later, as well as the “reunion” orchestrated by The Today Show with the four people who had saved Victoria’s life. Alicia vividly describes the eerie scene she encountered after leaving the hospital: empty streets, lack of information, and no cell phone coverage. She describes how she and her friend hitched a ride with an emergency vehicle back to their hotel, where she watched the events on TV, as her phone started to ring with calls from all over the country.

Alicia reflects on the impact of these events on her personal life and the ways in which “Boston Strong” helped everyone draw strength together. She found that the knowledge of so many people’s support to be a source of healing.


Audio Clip 1

Alicia describes her first communications with her children after the bombing, after she had spent the afternoon working and helping in the medical tent. 

Audio Clip 2

Alicia describes the medical tent and how people worked together to help the injured    

Audio Clip 3

Alicia describes leaving the hospital, contacting Victoriaʼs family, and staying in touch with them. She also discusses what it was like to reunite with Victoria. 

Full Interview


Related Links

Boston Marathon Reflections: "I Couldn't Leave Her" (WBUR)

Boston Marathon Reflections: "I Am OK, Physically." (WBUR

"The Golden Hour": Profile of Alicia Shambo in The College of Charleston Magazine (October 21, 2013)




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