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Marathon Bombing Survivor Surprises Rescuer With 'Hero Award'

BOSTON (CBS) - A man who came to the rescue of a marathon bombing survivor attended a special event Wednesday night only to learn he was the one being honored.

"Meeting him was a moment I would never forget," said Gillian Reny.

Marathon bombing survivor Gillian Reny has spent the last three and a half years thinking of a way to thank John Mackie, the guy who saved her.

"He's so humble, he's never wanted to be recognized, so I'm really excited to see him finally get the recognition he deserves," said Reny.

John Mackie
John Mackie and Gillian Reny (WBZ-TV)

John Mackie, who was in the Army at the time, ran to her side after the first bomb went off.

"He kind of jumped into action and came across the street to help," said Reny.

Mackie, now a Boston firefighter, was surprised Wednesday as the first recipient of The Stepping Strong Hero Award from the fund set up by Gillian Reny at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Gillian Reny
Gillian Reny (WBZ-TV)

"She's the one who really accomplished delivering that message to all of us through the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Foundation," said John Mackie.

The award was part of the dedication ceremony for the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation.

"I mean I would erase April 15th in a heartbeat, but this is really extraordinary and it's pushing forward cutting edge science," said Gillian's mom Audrey Epstein Reny.

Reny nearly lost a leg in the bombing and was one of 40 treated at the hospital. Since then it's been her family's mission through the fund to support advancements in trauma care.

As for Gillian, she is now a college senior at Penn and is focused on remaining resilient.

"I'm doing really well. I'm graduating in May, which is a huge accomplishment and if you asked me a few years ago we did not think it's be possible," said Reny.

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