Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Former classmates reach out to friend after bombings

An international story that has rocked headlines everywhere has a small tie to the little island of Plantation Key.

One of the most used photographs from last week's Boston Marathon terror attacks has been an Associated Press picture of Jeff Bauman Jr. being rolled away in a wheelchair moments after two bombs exploded near the finish line.

Bauman lost his legs from the explosion and is undergoing multiple surgeries. According to multiple national media outlets, Bauman helped the FBI identify the attackers.

Bauman's father, Jeff Bauman Sr., is a 1978 Coral Shores High School graduate, who now lives in New England.

Though Bauman said he hasn't been to the Keys since high school, his former classmates are supporting him through emails and social media.

"I've gotten a lot of support from down there," the elder Bauman said Monday morning from his hotel room in Boston.

Islamorada's Craig Brewer still keeps in touch with Bauman through Facebook.

"When something happens to someone down here, we pull together," said Brewer's wife, Rhonda.

Jenny-Bell Thomson, who graduated from Coral Shores with Bauman and now works at Mariners Hospital, describes the Bauman family's situation as tragic.

"Things are being sent around Facebook," she said.

Several of Bauman's former classmates who no longer live in the Keys have also written multiple posts on Facebook as they follow the Bauman family's travails.

A fundraiser has been set up at http://www.gofundme.com/BucksforBauman to help with medical expenses. Sympathy cards can be mailed to Jeff Bauman, c/o Jen Joyce, P.O. Box 261, Chelmsford, Mass. 01824.

jgore@keysnews.com

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