An emergency responder and volunteers, including Carlos Arredondo in the cowboy hat, push Jeff Bauman in a wheel chair April 15 after he was injured in an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. At least three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 170 were wounded when two bombs blew up seconds apart. (Charles Krupa / AP)
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A man in a cowboy hat whose efforts to help victims of Monday’s Boston Marathon were captured on film has been identified as the father of a fallen Marine.
Carlos Arredondo was supporting five marathoners from the Run for the Fallen who were in running to honor Maine service members who died in battle. His son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo of Bangor, was killed in Iraq in 2004 during his second tour.
Arredondo was handing a small American flag to a National Guardsman who had just completed the race when the first blast hit.
He and his friend John Mixon darted across Boylston Street to reach victims. Mixon began tearing down the fence and scaffolding, but Arredondo leaped over. He tried to stanch Jeff Bauman Jr.’s bleeding before helping him into a wheelchair.
“I kept talking to him. I kept saying, ‘Stay with me, stay with me,’” Arredondo told the Portland Press-Herald.
Bauman had been at his first Boston Marathon, cheering on his girlfriend with her roommates near the finish line.
A moment later, a thunderous flash mangled the 27-year-old athlete’s legs. A photographer captured the shocked, ashen victim being wheeled away, aided by medics and Arredondo. The photo — cropped to not show the full effects of the bomb blast — received wide play across the Internet and in newspapers.
On Tuesday, Bauman’s father delivered the sad news that doctors at Boston Medical Center had to amputate what was left of both lower legs.
“Unfortunately my son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the senior Bauman wrote on Facebook.
Jeff Bauman was also burned on his back and his right eye was injured. He remained in critical condition Tuesday night.
Arredondo didn’t hesitate to help, according to his friend.
Mixon told the Bangor Daily News that Arredondo “was unbelievably calm. He’s the warmest, most gentle man I’ve met in my life.”
Arredondo’s other son, Brian, committed suicide in 2011 after battling depression for years following his brother’s death.
“The guy has been through so much tragedy, and to react the way he did under that kind of stress and pressure is just amazing,” said Mixon, who plans to run the marathon next year.