UPDATED: April 28, 2013, at 8:54 p.m.
Three Harvard University Police Department officers were among those honored for their heroic efforts by the Boston Celtics Friday night at the TD Garden as part of the Celtics’ “Heroes Among Us” community outreach program.
HUPD officers Michael Rea, Ryan Stanton, and Christopher Riccardi were recognized for administering crucial first aid to Richard H. Donohue Jr., a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police officer, during last week’s manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
“You are true heroes,” Edward Palladino, the Celtics public address announcer, told the officers as the crowd of over 18,000 stood and cheered.
Donohue was wounded early in the morning on April 19 in a firefight between law enforcement authorities and the two men believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings, Cambridge residents and brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. Tamerlan died after the shootout, and Dzhokhar has been charged in the bombings.
Donohue was rushed to Mount Auburn Hospital on Friday and is still recovering. His injuries were so serious that law enforcement officials said that he might not have lived had Rea, Stanton, Riccardi, and others not provided immediate first aid.
“It’s a great honor,” Riccardi said of being recognized by the Celtics. “We usually don’t get anything like this.”
Still, Riccardi said that he was ready for things to settle down after what has been a chaotic week and a half in the area.
“I think everybody is ready to get back to business as usual,” he said.
It was an emotional evening at the Garden, where the Celtics were taking on the New York Knicks in the third game of a best-of-seven playoff series. Throughout the first half, television timeouts were filled with standing ovations and loud cheers as law enforcement officers from numerous local departments were celebrated. Honored along with Rea, Riccardi, and Stanton were Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78, the Watertown Police Department, representatives of numerous local hospitals, and other regional police officers. These included James “Matt” Brown and Carlos Aquino, two officers from the Cambridge Police Department.
“The crowd was beautiful,” Celtics center Kevin Garnett told the Crimson after the evening’s loss. “I know the result isn’t what we wanted, but in the stands I think people...were having fun, so it was good. A good two-and-a-half hour diversion, if you will.”
Celtics forward Paul Pierce said that his team desperately wanted to give Boston a win after what has been a chaotic and tragic ten days for the area.
“You know when you want it so bad you rush and you get real anxious, and I thought that’s what we did for most of tonight,” he told the Crimson. The loss dropped the Celtics to a 3-0 hole in the series. After winning at home on Sunday, the Celtics are now down 3-1.
Noting the special atmosphere of the evening, Knicks center Tyson Chandler expressed some solidarity with Boston after the game.
“If anybody understands what Boston’s going through right now it’s the city of New York,” Chandler told the Crimson, alluding to New York’s experience after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “We understand that the team is going to get behind the emotion of the city and they did, they played hard tonight.”
—Staff writer Matthew Q. Clarida can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattClarida.
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