In an iconic and affecting photo taken in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in April, cowboy hat-wearing Carlos Arredondo rushes to push Jeff Bauman out of harm’s way in a wheelchair. While the photo showed the horrors of a city rocked by violence, it also captured the heroism and resilience that emerged from the tragedy.
Bauman lost his legs in the blast but managed to maintain an indomitable spirit. Since the bombing, he has continued his recovery and is learning to walk on new prosthetic legs. In May, he and Arredondo appeared at a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, where Bauman threw the ceremonial first pitch.
On Wednesday, Bauman and Arredondo sat down with NBC’s Brian Williams to talk about the bond they have formed in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy. In a segment that ran on the "Today Show," the two men talked about the bombing, their newfound connection, and Bauman’s remarkably fast recovery.
“I’m stronger,” Bauman told Williams. “Way stronger. I could lift my whole body weight with these [arms], probably about 100 times if I wanted to.”
Bauman likely would not have survived the bombing if Arredondo, a Costa Rican peace activist, hadn’t come to his rescue. In the famous photo, Arredondo can be seen trying to stem the massive blood loss from Bauman’s right thigh as a first responder and volunteers wheel him to safety.
“He was the one that picked me off the ground,” said Bauman. “He said his shoulder was hurting, but he grabbed me with one hand in the chair.”
Said Arredondo, “I saw the quantity of blood on the floor, and I knew Jeff was a person who needed to go soon, very quick to the emergency room, because he lost so much blood at the time.”
Still recovering at the time of the interview, Bauman remained optimistic.
“I really want to do something great,” he told Williams. “I want to be out there. I want to just help people. That’s what I want to do.”
- Carlos Arredondo