Timing questioned in fundraising for Boston-area boat owner

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An online fundraising effort to help replace the boat destroyed in a shootout between authorities and a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing case has raised questions ranging from what type of boat it was to what happens when property is taken as evidence.

But one of the biggest questions asked in online forums on message boards was: Is it too soon to think about the boat?

The boat is a 1981 24-foot Falcon, possibly marketed as a Seabird since Falcon purchased the tooling from that company.

Larry Russo Sr., of Russo Marine, told Trade Only Today that he has been inundated with people asking whether he is going to step into an effort to help David Henneberry get a new boat, so he looked up the public registration information to see whether the Watertown, Mass., resident was already a customer.

“This is too raw, it’s too soon. We shouldn’t be talking about fiberglass right now,” Russo said.

A campaign launched Saturday by Craig Dunlap, of Texas, on Crowdtilt — a site that seeks to make pooling money simple — asks donors to give until $50,000 is raised to replace or restore Henneberry’s boat.

Henneberry, breaking days of silence, told WCBV: “It makes me feel wonderful that people are thinking like that, but it is my boat. People lost lives and lost limbs. I’d rather that [the money] go to the One Fund Boston. To buy me a new boat is a wonderful thing. I don’t want that, really. They lost limbs. I lost a boat.”

Ajay Mehta, who is with San Diego-based Crowdtilt, responded to criticism that the fund was created too quickly after the attacks.

“It wasn’t like this was the most important cause right now. It was more about reaching out with a hand of support to a man who was unwittingly thrust into the spotlight,” Mehta told Trade Only. “It’s not like fundraising or charity. It’s just people can chip in if they want to.”

Watertown Police Lt. Michael Lawn told Trade Only that the boat is in federal hands. The FBI said it wouldn’t comment even generally regarding what happens with property confiscated as evidence because of the high profile of the investigation.

The Associated Press reported that Boston police and firefighter unions said they would give $50,000 to anyone who provided information leading to a suspect’s arrest. But even if there is a reward “it’s not really boat-replacement money,” Mehta said.

“Slip Away is slipping away, but I say it did its job,” Hennebery told the station. “It held a bad guy and is going away like a Viking ship.”

Click here for the WCVB video.

— Reagan Haynes


4 comments on “Timing questioned in fundraising for Boston-area boat owner

  1. Raeford Brown

    It certainly sounds like Mr. Hennebery is thinking like good citizens should be thinking. It’s great to want to join an effort to reward a good citizen for his losses, but I agree with this patriot. Talking about fiberglass at a time when people are dead and many are critically injured is just not right. I am sure that, in good time, that he will get a boat, or get his back (not sure whether he’ll want it, even if it’s repaired). I’m happy to see that he feels the same way.

  2. oceans4748

    Yes he should get a new boat but give the 50K to the familys that were affected to help with insurance, Hospital, Doctors familys re-hab.

    We must all feel their pain. It could have been one of us or our family!

  3. Patriot/Boston Strong

    Mr. Henneberry is a class act! If you see him in town be sure to shake his hand and buy that man a drink!

    I don’t think it is too soon-people need something positive to focus on in all the chaos. It is also very natural that the good people of the world would want to “make him whole” again with a new boat and it is a wonderful thought. It is unlikely he will see the “Slip Away” again.

    It is also inspiring to know that people like Mr. Henneberry are out there..putting the focus back on assisting the victims….let’s all be more like David!

  4. Pim Van Hemmen

    The insurance company will give him some money, if not enough to replace the boat. More than anything, Mr. Henneberry will need boat rides on the bay this year until he gets another boat.

    So kudos all around, to Mr. Henneberry, who is a class act, and to those who wanted to help him get a new or fixed boat.

    So, I propose good Bostonian boat owners offer some nice boat rides to Mr. Henneberry whenever he wants to go on the water until he gets his boat back or he gets a replacement from the insurance company.

    I am sure there will be no shortage of boat ride offers.

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