Are You Boston Strong?


Boston Strong

Amidst chaos, three strangers saved a marathon runner whose legs were suddenly gone. One brawny Boston EMT, a young Boston University volunteer and a Costa Rican wearing a cowboy hat; total strangers, all came together and saved a man’s life at the Boston Marathon a year ago. They are strong, their instincts and values are made of the right stuff.

Paul Mitchell the EMT said it was his job and obligation, fair enough: a job well done with the requisite humility of those in that profession. Devin Wang, Boston University senior said her instincts kicked in; pretty good instincts in my books, big time. And then there is Carlos Arrendondo, a former rodeo clown, married father of two sons, with heartache to spare. Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Arrendondo, Carlos’ first son was killed in Iraq in 2004 serving his country. His second son Brian committed suicide, struggling with depression after losing his brother. So there’s Carlos, a spectator handing out American flags at the Boston Marathon, supporting runners, vets and a suicide survivor’s group, you just can’t make this stuff up. For those of you opposing immigration reform, you might reflect on your political position for a few moments.

I love people like this. They are strong. Where does your strength come from? For a man like Carlos Arrendondo, behind the bars of big time grief, I think faith played a big role. Somewhere along the way, the mayhem in his personal life subsided and his journey to help others was resurrected; and this was before the 2013 Boston Marathon. The Face book page of Carlos Arrendondo lists the TV shows of Joel Osteen Ministries and the 700 Club, his favorite movies include Fireproof, need I say more. He is quoted as saying, “I want everybody to know we have the capacity to help one another and share in times of grief. It’s important to be human.” Talks cheap, Carlos really walks the talk.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here is an image that inspires me to be a better man, a better Christian and hopefully make a difference along the way.

Left to Right: Paul Mitchell, EMT; Carlos, Arredondo, Spectator; Jeff Bauman, Survivior; and Devin Wang, Race volunteer

Left to Right: Paul Mitchell, EMT; Carlos Arredondo, Spectator; Jeff Bauman, Survivior; and Devin Wang, Race volunteer

Just like the determined Costa Rican with a cowboy hat, rushing an ashen faced man in a wheelchair at the Boston finish line, we all can get real strength when we lean on the big guy. Carlos was the right man at the right time to help Jeff Bauman survive. Paul Mitchell and Devin Wang obviously soared to the occasion with their God given talents and strength. Many other heroes did as well, bless them all.

All of us have been behind bars at sometime in our life, be it the prison of addiction, grief, actual incarceration, situational depression, poverty or chronic mental illness to name just a few. There is always hope, always those who will put it on the line to help a stranger and there is always Jesus. Your hopes and dreams can be resurrected. There is a hero in you waiting to emerge at just the right time in the marathon of life. Carlos, Devon and Paul are Boston strong living proof of that.

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