10 Years Ago, a Student Ran Toward Smoke From the Marathon Bombings. It Shaped His Life

Shores Salter says the events of that day shape the way he goes about his life, but that pivotal moment is not the only thing that defines him

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Shores Salter was a 20-year-old Northeastern University student when he ran toward the smoke from the Boston Marathon explosions.

He ended up helping to save Roseann Sdoia’s life and created some lifelong friendships. But he says while that was a pivotal moment, it’s not what defines him.



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Ten years ago, two explosions seconds apart at the Boston Marathon finish line sent thousands of people heading for safety. Salter started to run but then stopped.

”I just kind of stopped in my tracks and everything just moved beyond me. And I guess I had always thought that if I found myself in a moment like that, I would want to kind of respond the way that I did. So, I think in that moment where I paused, something within me, like a gut instinct, kind of drew me towards going towards it. And that's where I found Roseann," the now-30-year-old said.

“I remember Roseann calling out, ‘will somebody help me, will somebody help me.’ And then I kind of picked her up in like a fireman's carry and brought her to the street," he said.

There are pictures and videos of Salter, in the middle of Boylston Street where he had carried Roseann. He’s holding a belt as a tourniquet on her right leg. She would eventually make it to Mass General Hospital while Salters was left wondering, ‘what happened to this young blonde woman, did she survive?’

He lives in California now, but on a recent visit home for Marathon Weekend, Salter talks about the weight of that day.

“I thought that she was in her later 20s, which Roseann really thanks me for being so sweet and saying that. I mistook her for a few different people that were also victims that day. There were times where I didn't think that the woman I was tending to that day, that she had made it. And that was just kind of unbearable.”

But when they finally found each other, that put Salter on a path of his own healing.

“I remember the first phone call I had with Roseann, which was just like, a gut punch, like a lot of burden was taken off my shoulders; a big sense of relief.”

Salter said he didn’t get counseling at the time, despite his parents urging him to. But he was able to talk with Roseann and the other people who helped to save her that day. That helped him process the trauma. And 10 years later, it led him to work for a mental health platform.

Salter is named for his parents’ love of the ocean. It’s also a family name. But singularly, he’s the definition of support, especially when he went to save Roseann that spring day.

“It can't be understated the impact that event had on me. It really does kind of shape the way I go about my life every single day. And I'm proud of that. But it's also mixed with feelings of empathy and sorrow and loss. So, I think there's a lot more that continues to define me, or I hope it does.”

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