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Former S. Floridian Hailed A Hero After Boston Blasts

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One of the most riveting photographs taken during the Boston Marathon bombings is that of a former South Florida resident helping the injured during the chaos and confusion that resulted from the deadly blasts.

Carlos Arredondo, wearing a cowboy hat and rushing to the aid of an injured man, may be remembered for setting himself and a Marine van on fire outside his Hollywood home after learning of his son's death in the Iraq War in 2004.

Arredondo can be seen in video clearing away debris after Monday's blasts and then helping a victim with a gruesome leg injury to a nearby ambulance.

He was visibly shaken when he told people afterwards what happened.

In a video on YouTube, he said "This thing happened right in front of us. This is a tragedy we are going to remember forever."

Arredondo, now a peace activist, is trained to help.

"I putting tourniquets on with their own clothes. I'm a member of the Red Cross," he said.

He also spoke to CBS News after the severely injured man in the wheelchair made it to an ambulance

"He was conscious. I let him know that an ambulance is on the way and that he's okay. And nothing happen. He's okay, you're okay, stay with me, stay with me," explained Arredondo moments after helping the man to the ambulance

Arredondo, 52, moved from South Florida to the Boston area so that he could be closer to the grave of his son Alexander, a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq.

In 2007, Arredondo was featured in a New York Times article as he traveled with a mobile memorial which showed a large picture of his son Alexander, and a casket in the back of a truck.

His other son, Brian, committed suicide in December 2011.

Arredondo, a Costa Rican immigrant who became a U.S. citizen after Alex's death, has legally changed his name to Alexander Brian Arredondo in memory of his sons.

He and his wife Melida (Alex's stepmom) have been peace activists and more recently have been involved in suicide prevention groups.

Arredondo was at the finish line Monday to support runners involved in a charity raising money for military families and veterans.

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