The Boston Marathon cowboy, whose real name is Carlos Arredando, was one of the first available and willing to help during Monday's explosions, which left three dead and over 170 injured. He was with his wife, Melida, in the VIP section of the marathon seats when the first bomb exploded, and immediately sprang into action to help.
The Boston Marathon cowboy, named because of the noticeable tan cowboy hat he wore during the carnage of the bombings, quickly pulled debris off of victims so nearby first responders could treat them. A photo of Arredando helping a man in a wheelchair went viral, with many wanting to know the man's motivation for his brave acts during the crisis.
"My first reaction was to run toward the people," he told ABC News. "There was so much commotion and a lot of people running away. I was one of the first to help people and God protected me. It was horrific."
The 52-year-old Red Cross volunteer also used his medical experience to tend to severely wounded bystanders, many of whom were crippled by the blast. Though many were knocked out by the impact, one man Arredando helped was conscious and bleeding profusely.
"I tried to tie his leg off. I tried to talk to him. He was conscious— I told him an ambulance was on the way," the Costa Rican immigrant said of the wheelchair-bound man who had lost his leg. "I managed to take him all the way to the ambulance— I sorted him out. There were so many people begging for help, I could only help some of them."
"I did what I could," Arredando, a former firefighter, would later tell The Washington Post.
Arredando and his wife had been at the marathon to watch the National Guardsmen race in honor of fallen soldiers— their son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, died in the Iraq war in 2004. The couple is intimately familiar with loss, as their other son, Brian, committed suicide in 2011 after losing a battle with drugs and depression.
The Boston Marathon cowboy had been handing out American flags at the race when the blast went off. Another photo of Arrendando showed him carrying the bloodied flag after helping to close a victim's severed artery.
Many have lauded his actions as heroic through social media and in the news.
"Carlos Arredando is one hero we all need. #BostonMarathon #Prayers," one tweet read.
To see video of the Boston Marathon bombings, click below (WARNING: Graphic content, high noise level).