Danielle Cutillo – 1851 Staff
On October 2, Boston Marathon bombing hero Carlos Arredondo came to speak to students with his wife Melida Arredondo. They sat in front of a packed Rosen Auditorium at an event sponsored by Lasell College Radio (LCR).
Arredondo began with, “In case you don’t recognize my accent, I’m from Boston.” The audience laughed; his accent was not from Boston. Arredondo came to America as an illegal immigrant in 1980, later becoming an American citizen.
On April 15, 2013, Arredondo made headlines when two bombs went off at the annual Boston Marathon, killing four and injuring 250 people. Although many people fled the scene, Arredondo ran towards the injured to come to their aid. “I didn’t hesitate,” said Arredondo. “I just jumped the barriers and started to help.”
His photograph was one of the first to appear in the news following the bombing. The photograph shows Arredondo pushing a man in a wheel chair that had lost both of his legs from the explosion. Wearing a cowboy hat in the iconic photo, news outlets named him the “cowboy hero” for saving the man’s life.
When Arredondo’s wife asked how he felt when people call him a hero, Arredondo said, “It is scary to be seen as a hero. It was a group effort.” He stayed until 9:00 p.m. to help other victims.
The first man Arredondo saved was Jeff Bauman, the man in the wheelchair from the iconic photo. Bauman was the first person to make it to Boston Medical that day. While in the hospital, he helped the FBI identify the bombing suspects. Today, Bauman is strong and doing well. He and Arredondo have a strong friendship and are planning to travel to Costa Rica together for 10 days.
This was not his first time facing tragedy. In 2004, his son Alex was killed in Iraq during his second tour of duty. In 2011, Arredondo’s other son Brian committed suicide after dealing with depression due to his brother’s death. He looks to his dogs for comfort when coping with the tragedies. “My dogs are the best therapy I have,” said Arredondo.
Arredondo and his wife are now peace activists. They fundraise for suicide prevention groups and homeless veterans and give out scholarships in honor of Alex and Brian.
“It’s important to look around and help each other,” said Melida Arredondo. “Each of us has the capacity to be a hero.”
“I feel Carlos coming to our school was beneficial because Carlos showed us that helping people is a positive thing that everyone should do,” said sophomore Risley Dudley.
“I’m so honored that my organization was able to put on this event,” said LCR station manager Justin Miller. “Carlos has such an inspiring story of heroism and courage and we strong felt that the Lasell community had to hear about it in person.”