His name was Chris Laudani and he wanted – in his own quiet way – to show respect to those who had suffered in his city
When the powerful Juno blizzard struck the north eastern United States earlier this week, images of Mr Laudani did the rounds after he was videoed shovelling snow from the painted finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Except that while people instantly connected the act with the devastation of of April 15 2013, when two bombs exploded at the finishing line of the race, killing three and injuring more than 100, for some time the identity of the man with the shovel was not known.
On Thursday it was reported that the man who had cleared the snow was Mr Laudani, a 25-year-old bartender at a nearby restaurant and social club, who has completed the race five times. One of the occasions he did so was two years ago.
“It’s always there. Year round,” he told Fox News, referring to the finish line. “They repaint it every year leading up to the marathon, and then they leave it there all year so people can see it. It’s a really special place, not just because of everything that happened in 2013.”
A student, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, faces at least 30 charges in connection with the blasts and could be executed if he is found guilty. He is accused of carrying out with the attacks with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was shot dead by police. By no small irony, proceedings in Mr Tsarnaev's trial in Boston were this week delayed because of the severity of the blizzard.
The mystery of Mr Laudani’s identity spread across social after a local woman named Kelsey Karkos posted a photo of him on Instagram.
“He saw she me looking for the finish line while he was shovelling the sidewalk,” she wrote online. “He knew exactly what I was looking for and came over to help me. Such a great person with Boston spirit during the blizzard.”
On Wednesday morning, the Boston Police Department posted photos of the then-unknown man to their official Twitter account and asked if anyone could help them identify him.
“For someone to brave the winter blizzard to clear our finish line for us is yet another statement as to what our event means not only to runners but also to Americans,” Tom Grilk, director of the Boston Athletic Association, which organises the marathon, said in a statement.
He added: “Since the bombing we have continually witnessed an outpouring of support for this great event and the city, demonstrating just how unique and special this race really is and all for which it stands.”