HAVERHILL — Of the nearly 100 people who gathered at GAR Park last night to pray for the Boston Marathon bombing victims, two had a personal interest in the vigil.
When a clergy member leading the vigil asked the crowd to explain the pain they experienced because of the bombings, Thomas McKenna, 56, of Haverhill spoke up.
He said he once met Krystle Campbell on a train while going to Boston. Campbell, 29, of Arlington, a restaurant manager, lost her life in Monday’s attack.
McKenna, who noted the fact that he is blind, called Campbell a compassionate person who “loved life and loved God.”
Elsewhere in the vigil crowd, Cheryl Lupi’s eyes teared as she listened to the words of remembrance being spoken.
Her brother-in-law, Robert Laprel, a well-known retired state police major and avid runner who had participated in the Boston Marathon, died on Dec. 12, 2010, of a heart attack at age 59. His family has held a run and walk in his memory for the past two years, with proceeds going to a Haverhill High School scholarship.
Lupi of Haverhill, who was there with her two daughters, Alisha Lupi, 29, and Erica Lupi, 27, learned about the vigil through an email she received from the Rev. John Delaney, pastor of Sacred Hearts Church. He was among the clergy at the vigil.
“The Boston Marathon was a big thing to Bob, who’d run it for many years,” Cheryl Lupi said of Robert Laprel. “His brother Jim ran in it on Monday, and every time I think of the marathon, I think of Bob and how this would have affected him if he was alive.
“We just never know when tragedy can happen and loved ones can be taken away from us,” she said. “What made me so emotional was that we were all there (at the vigil) praying together. The readings and the poems and the songs were all very beautiful.”