Brunswick donation pushes fund for Boston-area boater past its goal

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A fundraising effort to buy a new boat for David Henneberry, the Massachusetts man who discovered a Boston Marathon bombing suspect hiding in his trailered boat in his backyard, has passed its $50,000 goal after receiving a contribution from Boston Whaler and the Brunswick Boat Group.

“We have received an INCREDIBLE donation from the Boston Whaler boat company, matching the funds donated by our community so far to get to our $50,000 goal,” fundraising initiator Craig Dunlap wrote today on Crowdtilt, a site designed to simplify pooling money.

Henneberry’s boat was riddled with bullet holes April 19 after a standoff between authorities and bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass. Henneberry called authorities after finding the 19-year-old hiding in his 24-foot Seabird, named Slip Away II, after a daylong lockdown was lifted on the Boston area.

The Brunswick Boat Group matched funds already pledged on Crowdtilt to bring the total above $50,000 Thursday afternoon. The company said today it will make an additional contribution to One Fund Boston to support the families of the people who were killed and those who were injured in the bombings.

“As a leader in the marine industry, we understand and appreciate the passion boaters have for their time on the water, and we hope that Mr. Henneberry will be back out on a boat soon,” Brunswick CEO Dustan McCoy said in a statement. “In a recent interview, Mr. Henneberry called himself an ‘incidental hero.’ In the aftermath, Mr. Henneberry has relied on his modesty and sense of community as his guide in reacting to this tragedy.”

Henneberry, breaking days of silence Wednesday afternoon, told Boston’s NBC News affiliate WCVB that he would rather monetary donations go to victims of the bombings. “People lost lives and lost limbs,” he told the station. “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 questions about whether the boat fund diverted attention from those injured and killed in the bombings.

“It was more about reaching out with a hand of support to a man who was unwittingly thrust into the spotlight,” Mehta told Soundings Trade Only.

Mehta said the money will be handed over to Henneberry directly.

“I don’t know if we want to buy him a boat,” Mehta told Trade Only. “It’s such a personal thing.”

“As with any good pilot, we will rely on Mr. Henneberry’s moral compass to navigate this situation and maintain a course that is both sensitive and respectful to Boston’s loss and healing process,” McCoy said in the statement. “We, therefore, have joined a fellow mariner in his support of the Boston community.”

McCoy said Brunswick supports any choice Henneberry makes regarding the money raised on Crowdtilt, particularly in light of his comments to WCVB.

“We encourage all those concerned to direct their donations to OneFundBoston.org, as well,” McCoy said. “Our thoughts are with David, all those directly affected by the Boston bombings, the city of Boston and the nation as a whole.”

Click here to visit the Crowdtilt page.

Click here for the WCVB report.

— Reagan Haynes

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