Two senseless tragedies, one heroic father: Carlos Arredondo.
#51:The Man in the Cowboy Hat
As of this reporting, no one knows why bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day, April 15, 2013. But the swiftness of social media linked a family from across the country, and across nearly a decade in time.
Jeff Bauman stood on the sidelines, cheering for his girlfriend, a first time runner in the Marathon. After the blasts, his life will never be the same: though surgeries to relieve pressure at Boston Medical Center saved his life, Bauman, 27, lost both legs at the knee.
His father, also named Jeff, knew that his son was lucky to be alive, because he had been alerted to images on the news of a heroic bystander on the scene who put out the flames of a man’s shirt with his bare hands, and continued to apply life saving first aid to the grievously injured young man—Bauman’s son.
The man in the cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo, 53, had been handing out American flags to runners when the first explosion went off. His son, Alexander, was a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004, and in years since he has handed out the flags as a tribute.
With the first blast, Mr. Arredondo jumped over the fence and ran toward the people lying on the ground. What happened next, he later recounted to a reporter: He found a young man, a spectator, whose shirt was on fire. He beat out the flames with his hands. The young man, who turned out to be Jeff Bauman, had lost the lower portion of both legs. He took off a shirt and tied it around the stump of one leg. He stayed with Mr. Bauman, comforting him, until emergency workers came to help carry him to an ambulance.
He helped only one man, Mr. Bauman.
—“In Grisly Image, a Father Sees His Son,” The New York Times
Mr. Arredondo responded to senseless violence with heroism, not once, but twice. He is a model for how we might love one another.
May the memory of Carlos Arredondo’s son be a blessing.