Everyone simply knows Carlos Arredondo as the man in the cowboy hat who when the bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon on Monday, instead of running away from the devastation, he ran into it.
And he saved lives.
However, it’s his new title as a hero that isn’t lost on his family, including ex-wife Victoria Foley, with whom they had two sons, Alexander and Brian.
They are the reasons Carlos was at the finish line that fateful day — and the reasons he saved so many people.
In 2004, Arredondo’s son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo died in battle in Najaf, Iraq.
And seven years later his son Brian, 24, took his own life.
Carlos was participating in the race to support an organization paying tribute to fallen soldiers.
(Photo: Carlos Arredondo by Getty Images)
“That man has always ran towards danger,” Victoria told Celebuzz with a chuckle.
“He’s that kind of guy. He sees people in trouble and he helps them,” she added, speaking of the now-iconic photograph of Carlos, complete with his cowboy hat, rushing a severely injured man in a wheelchair to safety — and becoming the face of all the brave men and women who came to the rescue.
(Photo: A young Alexander, Carlos and Brian Arredondo)
“I saw the one man he’s helping [in the photo] and it doesn’t look real. To see him do that without hesitation is just amazing,” she added.
Victoria says that natural instinct has been engrained in the 53-year-old since he was a young man who volunteered as a firefighter in Costa Rica.
“It’s just who he is,” she said.
But her thoughts also turn to her son.
“My son Brian would have went with him that day. They went together every year.”
“They invited me to run every year, but it’s hard for me. But he’s been very active and doesn’t want people to forget them,” Victoria said of her former husband, who she admits haven’t been close since their divorce in 1996.
“It’s a commendable thing. Somebody had to have put him there for a reason.”
(Photo: Alexander, Carlos and Brian Arredondo)
Foley said that Monday’s tragic events have given her a new perspective.
“When I saw their father doing what he did, it made me more forgiving and appreciative.
“I had a dream about my son Brian the night before the marathon. And I shed some tears because I missed him and he would have gone to the marathon.
“And I said, I bet you Carlos is there. And when I came home and turned on the TV the first person I thought of was him.
(Photo: Nathaniel Foley, Alexander Arredondo, Victoria Foley and Brian Arredondo)
“I tried to call to see if he was okay and I didn’t get through. I wanted to apologize and I had hoped I didn’t miss my chance.”
And there is no doubt, Victoria says, that their sons were watching over him that afternoon.
“God bless the man. When somebody does something good like that, it erases the bad things in the past. I know they’d be proud of their father,” she said.
“My boys would have stood tall. They would have said ‘that’s my dad.’”
(Photo: Alexander and Brian Arredondo)
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