Images of the Jamaica Plain resident in a cowboy hat who rushed to the aid of the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions have become a symbol of the power and resilience of the human spirit in the face of tragedy.
Carlos Arrendondo was standing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon awaiting the National Guardsman who was running the marathon in honor of his two dead sons, one of whom was killed in the Iraq War in 2004, when the first bomb went off.
Arrendondo said he immediately ran across the street to move the barriers that had been separating fans from marathoners. Bodies lay around him, but Arrendondo focused on helping one man, Jeff Bauman, Jr., age 27.
"He lost both legs," he told Boston Public Radio's Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Tuesday. "I talked to him. I gave him some comfort, and let him know that help was on the way, that he's okay ... We moved this person very quickly into the ambulance."
When he jumped over the barriers where the explosion had happened, Arrendondo said he dropped the American flag he had been waving just minutes before in a pool of blood. He picked up the flag and put it in his pocket.
Hear the full interview with Arrendondo below: