Erika Brannock

Erika Brannock, 29, a Towson preschool teacher and Cockeysville resident, was in front of the Lens Crafters store near the Boston Marathon finish line with her sister Nicole Gross and brother-in-law Michael Gross, waiting for her mother Carol Downing to come running by, when the explosion occurred. Brannock suffered severe injuries to both legs and had to have her left leg amputated below the knee. Her sister was also badly injured, and her brother-in-law was injured but less severely. (Handout photo / April 19, 2013)

In the aftermath of the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, stories emerged of moments of mercy and compassion in Boston. Residents took the shaken and wounded into their homes and, in one case, a man literally gave the shirt off his back to a blast victim shivering in shock.

Here in Maryland, we also have a story of humanity and generosity to tell.

Three were killed and more than 170 injured when the two bombs went off. Among the wounded was Erika Brannock, 29, an Ellicott City native and graduate of Mt. Hebron High School who lives in Cockeysville .

Brannock attended the race in support of her mother, who was running the marathon, and was standing near the finish line with her sister and brother-in-law when one of the bombs went off nearby. Brannock had to have her left leg amputated below the knee and had surgery for injuries to her right leg.


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That would have been tragic enough — an innocent, random bystander victimized by an act of terror.

But it also has emerged that Brannock was about to lose her health insurance coverage. She's a teacher of 2-year-olds at Trinity Episcopal Children's Center, in Towson, a job she plans to leave in June for a new job at Davenport Preschool that begins in the fall.

The medical costs she will incur through the gap in coverage are daunting.

In fact, there will also be living costs and other expenses. Financial devastation loomed for a young woman, a graduate student at Towson University, just starting her career.

It is heartening to learn now that a trust fund has been established. Liz Harlan, director of Trinity Episcopal Children's Center and founder of the Davenport Preschool, set up the fund and is asking those who care to make a donation to defray Brannock's expenses.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Ken Saunders, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church, said the church's board would consider, as a personnel matter, the possibility of continuing Brannock's insurance coverage.

At a vigil held for Brannock and the other bombing victims at Trinity Episcopal, about 85 parents, youngsters, church members and others gathered to pray for the young teacher's recovery.

Sometimes, the ignoble and cruel brings out the noble and merciful in people. In Boston, they took care of their own. Here in Maryland, we're doing the same.

For more information on the trust fund, go to http://www.thebrannockfund.com.