Jeff Bauman said he owes his life to Carlos Arredondo, who raced from the crowd to his rescue after Jeff had his legs torn off in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Now Bauman has a chance to thank his hero in person.
The two have remained in contact since the bombing and met in Jeff Bauman’s hospital room this week, with Bauman’s girlfriend and Arredondo’s wife there for the visit.
“I was so happy to see him with his big open-wide eyes and very grateful to be able to hug him and let him know how proud I am of him,” Arredondo said.
Bauman was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon waiting for his girlfriend to finish when the bomb exploded. The explosion tore off his legs beneath the knee, and an extremely graphic photo showed paramedics and Carlos Arredondo bringing Bauman out in a wheelchair.
Despite devastating injuries, Bauman was not deterred. When he was still in intensive care, the 27-year-old gave the FBI a description that helped determine the identity of the two suspects from thousands of people seen in the photos.
“He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,’ ” Chris Bauman said yesterday in an interview.
Seeing the carnage, Arredondo raced onto the scene and began tearing away metal barriers to reach the victims. Arredondo said when he saw Jeff Bauman, missing both of his legs and losing blood rapidly, he knew Jeff needed help the most.
Arredondo lifted Bauman and put him into a wheelchair, and when the fabric used as a tourniquet kept getting caught in its wheels he held it (this was initially mistaken for Arredondo pinching Bauman’s artery shut).
“The picture that you see, that’s what it is and that how it happened, you know,” he said. “I was just trying to help him in every way I could, and thank God he gave me the opportunity to help this beautiful young man.”
Carlos Arredondo himself has a tragic background. He lost one son in Iraq, and then several years later his other son, devastated from the loss of his brother, took his own life. Arredondo said he considered suicide himself but ultimately decided to dedicate his life to being an anti-war activist.
Jeff Bauman has been getting help from across the country in his recovery. He does not have health insurance, so some of his friends began asking the internet for donations to cover his high costs.
They created a page on the crowdfunding site gofundme.com, and in just a few days the cause has gotten more than $700,000.
Carlos Arredondo said he hopes to remain in close contact with Jeff Bauman.