The Marathon wounded: Karen Rand

Karen Rand (right) went to the Marathon with her best friend, Krystle Campbell.
Karen Rand (right) went to the Marathon with her best friend, Krystle Campbell.

That day on Boylston Street, the bomb tore from Karen Rand her best friend, Krystle Campbell, and her left leg. She remembers everything, every horrific detail from the sidewalk beside her friend’s body. She talks about none of it. But she holds on to her sense of humor.

So when friends in the restaurant world planned a fund-raiser for Rand to be held Sunday at the Kenmore Square bar known as the Lower Depths, one suggested calling it “The Lower Leg.”

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I wasn’t sure,” said Suzi Samowski, the bar’s co-owner, but she asked Rand anyway. “She loved it.”


Rand is 52, executive assistant to chef Jasper White and to White’s partner in the Summer Shack restaurants. She went to the Marathon with Campbell, a 29-year-old former Summer Shack manager, each one beaming in the sun as they posed for a picture on the Public Garden footbridge before heading to the finish.

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That Rand was old enough to be Campbell’s mother and that she did not work with Campbell on the dining room floor were irrelevant. “These things just don’t matter in the restaurant business,” said Samowski, who also co-owns the two Bukowski Taverns, one of which sits next to a Summer Shack outpost on Boston’s Dalton Street.

Rand and Campbell became fast friends seven years ago, each as effervescent and seemingly carefree as she was in command at work — Campbell orchestrating the hubbub of dining room floors, Rand holding the Summer Shack operation together.

“She’s absolutely amazing. She oversees and takes care of everything,” said Matt White, general manager of Summer Shack Back Bay and one of the organizers of this weekend’s Lower Leg benefit. “She’s more than just an assistant; she’s like everyone’s assistant.”

Though Rand worked out of Summer Shack’s Cambridge headquarters and Campbell had taken a job with a different restaurant, they still came to the Back Bay on Sundays to visit their friends at Bukowski’s and Summer Shack.


“They’re a whirlwind,” Samowski said, recalling how they thought of it as “Sunday fun-day.” “They knew Sundays were slow, they knew I would have time to talk with them and eat something and have a glass of wine.”

Then they would head next door to see Matt White, Jasper’s nephew, at Summer Shack. “In the restaurant business, everyone takes care of each other,” said White.

But that was especially true of the nurturing Campbell and Rand, he said.

“She’s just a very kindhearted, positive, amazing person,” he added, in a phone interview after a recent visit with Rand. “Her spirits are high, and she’s got a lot of close friends and family around her. The focus is getting her better and getting her walking, because she’s a very active person.”

Rand, who lives in Somerville, is a Maine native and mother of two grown sons, one of whom has started a Give-Forward site to raise money for her out-of-pocket medical bills and expenses while she ­remains out of work.


In a Facebook e-mail, Rand said she is not ready for an interview but is looking forward to dropping by the Lower Leg party, as a break from physical and occupational therapy. “The event should be fun,” she wrote.

Samowski said Rand told her that the events of April 15 are seared on her mind, but that she does not want to talk about that day or the loss of Campbell — who was just about to turn 30 and who had met a new boyfriend through Rand and Rand’s boyfriend.

“It’s just too hard,” Samowski said. “The doctors have asked her, ‘Have you grieved for yourself, have you grieved for the loss of your leg?’ and she says, ‘No, I’m more upset about Krystle.’ ”

But she is able to joke and smile, Rand said, excited especially to see restaurant friends at the Lower Leg party — to be held, naturally, on a Sunday.

Eric Moskowitz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeMoskowitz.