What is in the water in Mattapoisett?

It's hard not to sometimes feel like integrity is at an all-time low, and self-promoting Instagram posts touting anything and everything are at an all-time high. But not at the Mattapoisett Boatyard.

Not there.

The family of Phil Macomber, the man injured in last week's devastating Mattapoisett Boatyard fire, posted an update to his GoFundMe page after it exceeded its $30,000 fundraising goal by raising over $156,000:

We are happy to report that Phil is out of the ICU and is in good spirits.  After talking to Phil’s partner, Michelle, they feel as though so much has been contributed and they cannot express their gratitude to the outpouring of support. Because of that, we have decided to end the fund tomorrow (Wednesday).

How rare is that?  Someone saying, "Enough is enough. I don't need any more money contributed to my GoFundMe account."

The contributions greatly exceeded the family's wildest dreams. Stunning. And what a relief to hear that Phil has made so much progress in less than a week.


But that's just the beginning. The update mentions a twist we haven't heard about until now. Apparently, four Mattapoisett Boatyard employees were the ones who saved their fellow worker from the inferno.  After being blown off the boat by the explosion, Macomber was lying on the ground with a shattered thigh bone and third degree burns to his neck and face.

"Phil also wants everyone to know how the efforts of the 4 MBY employees who rescued him clearly saved his life," the update reads. "They put their lives on the line to save his and that is truly heroic."

Mattapoisett Boatyard owner Ned Kaiser agrees.

"The guys saw the explosion and just immediately rushed in to grab Phil," he said. "The second they got into the building it was already filled with smoke and starting to burn.  So, they held their breath and dragged him halfway out, ran outside to take a couple of breaths to run back in and by the time they got him out, the building was fully involved."

Normal, everyday boatyard workers on most days, these guys turned into Marvel superheroes at a moment's notice. And like any other superheroes, they want to keep their identities a secret. It's the stuff that legends are made of.

Courtesy of Susan Grigg
Courtesy of Susan Grigg

As if last week's blaze wasn't historic enough, Mattapoisett now has four mild-mannered heroes walking among us.

As noble as the gesture is to remain anonymous, I'm here to say that these four deserve major recognition. Without exaggeration, they should each receive medals of honor from the governor. The new MBY buildings that will be erected in the coming years should bear their names.

"The Mattapoisett fire chief says it. The state says it. These guys didn't just help. They were heroes," Kaiser said. "They saved Phil's life."

There's a sign that hung at Mattapoisett Boatyard. It read:

"There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't met yet."

After the rebuild, they may need to consider hanging another sign:

"There are no strangers here, but there are heroes you don't know about."

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