Hotel kept Boston investigators going in attack's wake

BOSTON The Lenox, a fourth-generation family-owned hotel, sits in the heart of Boston's Back Bay and was right between the blasts on the day of the marathon bombings.

Managing director Dan Donahue had to shut down the hotel and evacuate his guests.

"First time in 113 years we didn't have a guest stay in the hotel, at least, not checked in," Donahue said.

Instead, law enforcement filled the halls.

Donahue's skeleton staff offered warmth and hospitality.

"They were ravenous; we thought, hey let's make these guys lunch, we're not opening today, obviously," said Donahue. "Really it was that simple."

That simple gesture grew from lunch to dinner to breakfast the next day and the next. The Lenox picked up the check for 500 people a day for more than week.

"The money takes a backseat to the fact that these two cowards came in and tried to inflict something on our city that we wouldn't allow them to," Donahue said.

Any tip money collected that week was donated, by the staff, to the fund set up for victims.

FBI Special Agents Kieran Ramsey and Kevin Swindon were working the crime scene with hardly a break.

"Their generosity and hospitality that they showed not only us but all of partners during that time of crisis was critical in us successfully completing our job and had a lot of do with the successes," Swindon said.

"It makes all the difference for us," Ramsey said.

"It was probably more healing for us than it was for them, to see them enjoy it, relax and get back out there," Donahue.

And as for whether he remembers who he was taking care of?

"Tuesday if you asked me that question I would have said, 'Cops, FBI,'" said Donahue. "I could say now they're our heroes."

The hotel and City Table restaurant are back open for business in what Donahue calls a stronger, more united Boston.