He is known as the hero in the cowboy hat who helped save lives at the Boston Marathon finish line, but this year for the first time, Carlos Arredondo will not spend the race on the side lines. His mission is to run it.
The flashbacks he still has to his bloodied American flag and iconic cowboy hat at the finish line is part of what is motivating to cross it himself this year. The fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings will be the 57-year-old’s first time ever running it.
“It’s just amazing. It’s a different way of healing by helping others,” Arredondo said.
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Arredondo is healing by training with his therapy dog Buddy, and helping by raising money for the Arredondo Family Foundation.
He and his wife started the organization to help prevent military-related suicide after Arredondo lost both of his sons. His oldest son Alex was killed in Iraq and his youngest son, Brian, committed suicide on the last day of the Iraq war.
“It’s hard,” Arredondo said. “But this is a way to carry the message about post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Arredondo is also running in honor of Dennis Simmons, a Boston police officer whose death was linked to the injuries he sustained while responding to the shootout in Watertown following the bombings.
Arredondo’s wife Melida, who was at the finish line with him when the bombs went off, hopes it will also send a message to the survivors and families of the victims.
“It’s an in your face way to say that 'see, you can’t keep us down,'” she said.
While Arredondo knows it will be hard to lace up for the start without remembering all that happened at the finish, he said this year it is time for him to finish the race for them.
“It’s about honor and remember and do something for somebody else and the list goes on,” Arredondo said.
Click here to find out more about his reason for running and the Arrendondo Family foundation.