Carlos Arredondo, 57, became a recognizable face for his heroism immediately after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that claimed three lives and injured hundreds more. He was the man in the white cowboy hat who pulled victims to safety and wrapped mangled limbs near the finish line on Boylston Street. Five years later, he is running the race for the first time and raising money for charity.
You probably saw photos of Arredondo running alongside a bloody and ghostly white Jeff Bauman in a wheelchair immediately after the bombs claimed the then 27-year-old’s legs. Now Arredondo will be running the same street for a much happier reason.
He announced his plans to race by setting up a Crowdrise fundraising page, with a goal of raising $6,500 for the Arrendondo Family Foundation, which is a non-profit that empowers military families and prevents suicide by offering education, financial relief and support services for those who have served and their loved ones.
Arredondo, who lives just outside of Boston, lost his oldest son, Alex, when he was killed during a sniper attack in Iraq in 2004. His youngest son, Brian, took his own life on December 18, 2011, the final day of the Iraq War, after suffering from drug addiction and depression following his brother’s death.
“As a civilian first responder on 4/15/2013, I realize how important it is for each of us to step forward and assist,” he wrote on his fundraising page. “We all can be a first responder. Each person’s efforts can save a life.”
Arredondo and his wife, Mélida, arrive early to the Boston Marathon finish line every year to cheer for the thousands of runners completing their final steps of the 26.2-mile course.
“I love just being there with the public,” Arredondo told Runner’s World. “I have chills in my body just thinking about being there. I can’t wait to accomplish this amazing race and cheer with the public.”
He was offered a race bib from the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), which routinely invites first responders and survivors to participate in the marathon each year since the 2013 attacks.
At the time of this writing, Arredondo has raised $1,615 for the foundation he started. If you’d like to contribute, visit his Crowdrise page.