BOSTON (CBS) — Shortly after Shawn Thornton got home from shaving his head for charity on Wednesday, he heard that another tragedy had hit Boston.
It was almost 9 p.m. when he first heard two Boston firefighters had lost their lives battling a 9-alarm fire on Beacon Street, but Thornton’s first thought was to reach out to the Bruins’ media relations and see what he and his teammates could do to help.
“Ours thoughts go out to the families. It’s an unheralded job; those guys go to work every day fighting fires, not knowing if they’re going to come home at night. They don’t get enough credit,” Thornton said after the Bruins’ practice Thursday morning. “I feel very, very saddened, and I hope the families pull through this.”
Thornton and the Bruins helped Boston heal last April following the Boston Marathon bombings and the manhunt that took place later that week. The team honored victims of the attack, and then the Boston Police, State Police and other first responders, letting the fans in attendance show all of Boston’s heroes the respect they truly deserve, but that often goes unsaid.
“We’re a group here that really rallies around this city and we’re going to try and make this city feel as good as we can with our play and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with the families,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It’s sad to see those kinds of things happen, especially when people are trying to save other people’s lives. We all know that when they take those jobs on there’s that risk and it really touches this city. This city is pretty sensitive when it comes to that stuff and very supportive of all those situations.”
The Bruins will very likely honor Lt. Ed Walsh and Mike Kennedy, the two firefighters who lost their lives on Wednesday, and the Boston Fire Department on Thursday night before they host the Chicago Blackhawks at the TD Garden.
But as he does whenever the city needs to turn to the Bruins and other sports franchises to relieve the pain of a tragedy, Thornton stresses they are not the real heroes.
“I’ve said it 100 times, we just play a sport,” he said. “Those guys, every day they put their life on the line. It’s a whole other level.”
The statement is true, but it’s also coming from a guy who helped raise over $118,000 to fight pediatric cancer care on Wednesday. Thornton and his Bruins teammates shaved their heads at Toucher & Rich’s annual “Cuts For A Cause,” an event that he and his teammates say is one of their favorites of the year.
“At the end of the day I’d rather be remembered for that stuff,” said Thornton. “We’re very fortunate to play this game and being able to give back, that’s the fun part.”
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