Carlos Arredondo is “the man in the cowboy hat” from the now-famous photo taken after the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
He’s also seen in Boston Globe sports producer Steve Silva’s video, fighting his way through the barriers alongside the marathon route to reach a gravely injured man.
Arredondo was at the Boston Marathon to support “Tough Ruckers” — military members who run in full military gear to honor fallen comrades. His son, Alex, died in Iraq in 2004. When Marines came to deliver that news to Arredondo, he locked himself in his van and set it on fire.
The Marines rescued him.
Arredondo lost his other son, Brian, who never got over the loss of his brother and committed suicide at the age of 24. Arredondo couldn't save his sons’ lives, but on Monday he saved someone else’s.
The gravely injured man Arredondo is pushing in a wheelchair is 27-year-old Jeff Bauman. He had to have both lower legs amputated, but his father says he’s recovering.
"After the second explosion, I got to know there was some attack — the way they happened," Arredondo said. "I went to try and help in any way possible I can, without getting in anyone's way."
Arredondo praised the volunteers and first responders who worked together to quickly remove debris and rescue victims with all manners of injuries. And then he came to Bauman, who was on fire.
"He lost two limbs and he was bleeding very badly. Around him were also a number of other victims as well," he said.
Arredondo put out the fires and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, before putting him in the wheel chair to be taken to the hospital.
"The kind of person he is, and from what I got to know at the moment of him," Arredondo said, "he's a very strong person (with a strong) will to live."
He retained consciousness throughout the ordeal. Arredondo encouraged him all the way to the ambulance.