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April 26. 2013 12:33AM

Greenland man sees parallels in tragedies


Scot Hopps, director of green (sustainability) for the Lenox Hotel in Boston, lives in Greenland and was working at the hotel on Boylston Street when bombs hit the Boston Marathon. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

BOSTON - Moments after the Boston Marathon bombings, Scot Hopps sent a text message to his wife, Megan, to tell her that he was OK.

"Why wouldn't you be OK?" she wrote back.

Hopps, director of green (sustainability) for Boston's Lenox Hotel, was working when the bombs went off just outside the hotel on Boylston Street.

The Greenland, N.H., man said the exchange with his wife was eerily similar to one last April 12, 2012, when he was working in Boston and his wife was at home with their two young girls. Until she called, he was unaware that a deadly shoot-out in which Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney died had happened a mile and a half from their house.

Hopps, 34, said he sees parallels between the outpourings of support from communities, law enforcement and first responders after the Greenland shootings and the marathon bombings.

"All the petty differences definitely fall away and everybody finds a way to work together and lend support. A lot of the things that you get mired down with every day, it's very easy to pick out what's important and what's not during those times," he said Thursday as he and other hotel staff tried to get back to a normal routine.

The Lenox - which sits between the two bombing sites - played a unique role in the days after the April 15 attacks. The hotel was turned into a police command center for the countless law enforcement officers and others involved in the investigation who needed food, shelter and a place to rest.

Hopps is used to tracking energy and working on the hotel's recycling program, but like other workers, his job changed for the first week after the bombings. He helped in the lobby, cleaned up the bar, washed dishes, and did whatever else he could to help.

On the day of the attacks, Hopps was inside the hotel when he heard the first explosion. Then he heard the second one and ran into a room with a window overlooking the marathon finish line.

He tried to calm people in the hotel lobby and then went outside to see what was happening, but was told by police to keep everyone inside the hotel and away from windows. At one point he and other employees were asked to check the hotel roof for anyone suspicious.

The one image that has stuck with him is of a police officer running to an ambulance with an injured boy in his arms.

As much as Hopps wanted to stay around the clock, he said he had to go home to his kids, Charlie, 1½, and Isabel, almost 3.

"I said, 'All right, I'm leaving. I'll be back. I need to give hugs to kids,'" Hopps recalled telling coworkers.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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