9/11 20 years later: Abington widow says road race honoring husband will be the last

ABINGTON, Mass. — Abington’s Christie Coombs says this year marks a milestone for many, but for her family, it’s just another year without her husband Jeff.

“I’ll still be waking up without Jeff there…and Jeff will still be missing out on my kids’ lives and my grandkids’ lives… and his own of course,” Coombs told Boston 25 News reporter Nicole Oliverio during the August 6 Zip Trip in Abington.

Jeff Coombs was on American Airlines Flight 11, flying from Boston to California on business 20 years ago this week.

“We look back and think, ‘Wow... I can’t believe 20 years have passed’… or ‘Wow it sees like yesterday’,” Coombs said.

This year will be different in one key way for the Coombs family: It’s the last time they will organize a road race in Jeff’s name.

“We created the foundation because we received so much goodness and kindness after Jeff passed,” Coombs said. “We needed a way to pay it forward and to show my kids that this is what you do. This is a way to thank people by paying it forward and doing nice things for others.”

Christie says the Jeff Coombs Memorial Foundation has distributed more than $1 million to help other families in need in the last two decades. But she said now it’s time for them to step back and give their supporters a chance to find other worthy causes.

“People still say to me, ‘You’re going to get up on that podium and say - nope - we changed our minds.’ I said no, it’s definitely time,” Coombs said.

The final running of the Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race is Sunday, September 19 at 9 a.m. at the Woodsdale School in Abington.

“I think about it now even now and I get choked up about it,” Coombs said. “I’m ready. My kids are ready.”

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW