A social media campaign to raise money to repair the pleasure craft of Dave Henneberry, the Boston-area man who found one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects hiding in his vessel, has raised a boatload of money in a very short time.
The project, started by Texan Craig Dunlap, has done so well, in fact, that Dunlap has called on contributors to now raise $50,000 -- enough to replace Henneberry's 22-foot boat, which was shot up by police before they took Dzhokhar Tsarnaev into custody Friday night.
Henneberry, who noticed his boat tarp was askew when he stepped out for a cigarette, became an instant celebrity and an American hero in the eyes of many. It was Henneberry who called police after lifting the tarp and seeing a severely wounded Tsarnaev.
Dunlap took to San Francisco-based crowdfunding site Crowdtilt on Saturday and asked donors to come up with $2,800 to patch up Henneberry's bullet-riddled Seahawk cruiser. But the project blew by that number without breaking a sweat.
"Hey everyone! I can't believe that we've crossed $6,000," Dunlap posted on the site on Monday afternoon. "This is such an amazing outpouring of support for David. I'm so proud to be a part of it with y'all!"
The effort had raised nearly $7,000 from 189 donors as of late Monday afternoon.
Marek Zareba, Crowdtilt's head of growth, said Dunlap initially started pooling money among his friends.
"They started spreading it through their own networks," Zareba said. "Overnight, just through Facebook, this campaign just kind of took on a life of its own. Email, newspapers. It's skyrocketing from here."
The story of the man and his boat prompted others to simply send Henneberry checks and inspired the "Dave's New Boat" Facebook page.
Dunlap did not respond to an interview request Monday. Zareba said Dunlap had told him that he'd rather stay out of the spotlight. Henneberry also has been avoiding publicity since his backyard ordeal.
Contact Mike Cassidy at email@example.com or 408-920-5536. Follow him at Twitter.com/mikecassidy.