Peace activist Carlos Arredondo is being hailed as a hero after a photo of him wearing a cowboy hat and assisting victims of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing went viral.
Arredondo, who is a native of native of Costa Rica and lost a son in the Iraq war, told The Washington Post that he had come to the Boston Marathon watch National Guardsmen race in honor of fallen soldiers.
After the bombs exploded, Arredondo said that he jumped a security fence where one man was missing his leg below the kneee.
“Stay still,” Arredondo recalled telling the man. “You’re okay. Relax.”
He was joined by another man — an EMT — who assisted as he tied tourniquets to stop the bleeding. After someone arrived with a wheelchair, Arredondo picked up the injured man and helped roll him in search of an an abulance.
“Ambulance! Ambulance! Ambulance!” he screamed until they found an emergency vehicle to take him to a hospital.
In a video posted to YouTube on Monday, Arredondo is visibly shaking as he describes the incident — still holding the blood-soaked American flag that he brought to the marathon.
“There are so many people that need help,” he said. “But can only help one at a time. So, I just helped that man.”
“I did my duty,” Arredondo later told the Post.
Arredondo’s wife, Mélida, explained to Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman on Monday that she and her husband began speaking out against violence after their son, Brian, reacted to the 2004 death of their son, Alexander, in Iraq by committing suicide in 2011.
“To be quite honest, since we lost Brian in December of 2011, Carlos and I have been trying to just stay sane and have been working real hard to promote awareness about suicide, both in the military and among military families,” she said. “But I knew when that bomb went off, after the second bomb went off, I knew that Carlos was there, because his training as a first responder—he’s in the disaster relief for the American Red Cross—that’s his instinct, and to go and help. And he’s helped other people who have been injured over the years in fires and things like that through his work.”
At a press conference on Tuesday, government officials said that three people were killed and at least 176 were injured when the two bombs exploded on Boylston Street.
Watch the video below, uploaded to YouTube on April 16, 2013.
Watch this video below from Democracy Now, broadcast April 16, 2013.