Hopping in a helicopter for a special aerial tour of Southeast Texas Wednesday were three men who remember the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing all too well.
Boston Marathon bombing first responders visit SETX
kjac , KBMT 6:23 PM. CDT September 14, 2013
"It's changed everybody's life, I mean nothing's the same," Captain Raymond Dupuis with the Watertown Police Department told 12News Wednesday.
The Lamar Institute of Technology invited three Boston area first responders to share its experiences in Beaumont.
"It was a normal day for us, right up until the bombs went off," said Joe O'Hare, a deputy superintendent with Boston Emergency Medical Services. "It got very hectic."
"When we heard the explosions, you can imagine our dispatch centers lit up," said Richard Raymond, CEO of Boston's Armstrong Ambulance Service. "We were ready for a large scale event, and we trained for it and that's what I hope (Thursday's) message is."
Beaumont's special guests will be at L.I.T. Thursday morning presenting a continuing education program for area first responders.
They will then be guest speakers at L.I.T.'s "Salute to Real American Heroes" fundraiser Thursday evening. Tickets for that event are sold out.
"I think what we want people to know is that cooperation and collaboration amongst the different public safety agencies is really important," said O'Hare. "You need to establish those relationships early on."
Dupuis has been a captain with Watertown Police for 13 years. He was there the night Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in the Boston suburb.
"They heard that there was a man in the boat and the boat was covered with blood, so I went out there and I was the highest ranking officer from the town of Watertown there at the time."
The men say this is the first time they've been asked to speak anywhere outside of Massachusetts, but have enjoyed their first visit to Southeast Texas.
"We're really flattered that everybody invited us here," said O'Hare.
"Southern hospitality... everybody's been real nice to us, it's good to see," said Dupuis.
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