Carlos Arredondo : biography
Alexander Brian Arredondo (born Carlos Luis de Los Ángeles Arredondo Piedra August 25, 1960) is a Costa Rican-American peace activist and an American Red Cross volunteer. He became an anti war activist after his 20-year-old eldest son Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo died in action during Iraq War in 2004.
On December 19, 2011, Carlos Arredondo's surviving son, Brian Arredondo, committed suicide, after battling depression and drug addiction ever since his brother's death. He was 24 years old at the time. Since that time, his father Carlos and his stepmother Mélida Arredondo have dedicated themselves to attending suicide groups sessions and conferences, especially related to military-related suicides. Both have been working with elected officials in the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts to change systems regarding suicide policy since Brian's death.
Death of first son
Arredondo's first son Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Scott Arredondo, was born in Randolph, Massachusetts from his first wife, Victoria Foley and raised on South Street in Jamaica Plain, Boston. After their divorce, their son lived with his biological mother. He graduated from the Blue Hills Regional Technical School, Canton in 2001 and went to join the US Marines.
He was killed in Najaf, Iraq, during his second tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom on August 25, 2004. Later that day, which was Carlos Arredondo's 44th birthday, the Marines Corps Casualty Assistance Team arrived at the Arredondo home in Hollywood, Florida, to notify the family of their son's death. The Marines had not brought a chaplain with them and spoke with Arredondo in the front yard of his home. Arredondo was distressed by the news, and became upset and agitated when the Marines refused to leave.
After some time went by, according to news reports, Arredondo was so distraught that he climbed in the Marines' van and splashed himself with gasoline. A propane torch he had brought inside was lit accidentally, Arredondo said.
Arredondo was pulled out to safety by the Marines, however his clothes had caught fire and burned 26% of his body. He received second- and third-degree burns. He was hospitalized in a burn unit for two weeks followed by outpatient home-based treatment. Despite his burns, he attended his son's funeral on a stretcher with two paramedics at each side. Arredondo and his wife Melida both spent time as inpatient psychiatric patients.
The incident is highlighted in the documentary film, The Prosecution of an American President, directed by Dave Hagen and David J. Burke. Arredondo and his wife Melida traveled to Hollywood to speak at a screening for the film at the Arclight theater in October, 2012.
Arredondo, who once was an undocumented immigrant and is now a US citizen is originally from Costa Rica. At the time he had no insurance and was self-employed working as a handyman. His story made national and international headlines. His recovery took over a year. Since that time he apologized to the Marines for his drastic actions. He was not prosecuted. His son was also awarded Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat "V" and the Purple Heart for his services during the battle.
Boston Marathon bombings
On April 15, 2013 Arredondo attended the 2013 Boston Marathon. At around 2:50 p.m. EDT (18:50 UTC), two bombs were detonated during the race in Copley Square, just before the finish line. Arredondo immediately sprinted into action and he can be seen in a series of photos and videos of the aftermath pulling debris and fencing away from the bloody victims, clearing the way for emergency personnel to tend to their wounds. He saw Jeff Bauman, missing both of his legs and losing blood rapidly, he knew Jeff needed help the most. Arredondo lifted Bauman and put him into a wheelchair, and when the fabric used as a tourniquet kept getting caught in its wheels he held it (this was initially mistaken for Arredondo pinching Bauman’s femoral artery shut).
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