David Gordon Green’s drama film ‘Stronger’ revolves around the life of Jeff Bauman, who loses both of his legs due to the Boston Marathon Bombing attack. Without his legs, Jeff sets out to start a new chapter of his life. He deals with the traumas of the tragedy and the subsequent loss with the help of his mother Patty and partner Erin. Eventually, he gets introduced to Carlos, the man who saved his life after the explosions. Intrigued by the character, we set out to find out whether Carlos is based on a real person and where he is now. Well, let us share our findings!
Is Carlos Based on a Real Person?
Yes, Carlos is based on a real person. The character is based on the Costa Rican-American activist Carlos Arredondo, who has devoted his life to serving military families who lost a loved one. Carlos’ life turned around when his son Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Scott Arredondo got killed in Najaf, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. Following the death of Alexander, Carlos’ second son Brian killed himself in 2011 after fighting depression and drug addiction, reportedly caused by the death of his brother. The death of his two sons made Carlos commit to helping individuals dealing with PTSD, suicidal thoughts, etc. He became a part of events focused on military-related suicides.
Together stronger pic.twitter.com/EVU5G4GkMY
— Carlos Arredondo (@CArredondoGSDad) June 14, 2017
During the 2013 Boston Marathon, Carlos was near the finish line to hand out American flags and support the “Tough Ruck” team, twenty National Guardsmen who had started marching the marathon route with rucksacks at 5:30 a.m., “raising money for the families of soldiers killed in action, or those who had committed suicide or died in PTSD-related accidents,” as per Jeff’s book ‘Stronger,’ the source text of the film. When the bombs went off, Carlos rushed to help the people who were injured by the same.
“He [Carlos] was lifting the barricade off Michele when he saw me, without my legs, lying in a pool of blood. He knew I didn’t have much time. He lifted me into the wheelchair. He ran beside me, unwilling to leave my side. He stayed with me as long as he could, staring after the ambulance as it pulled away and headed down the street. I was the one person he focused on that day,” Jeff wrote about Carlos in his book. “[…] he [Carlos] saved my life. I mean that: I would be dead today without Carlos Arredondo. And now he can say to himself, if he ever struggled with it before: Something good happened because of me. It’s a good thing I survived,” he added.
Where is Carlos Arredondo Today?
Carlos is committed to charitable causes as always. The 2013 bombing attack was a traumatic event for Carlos and his wife Melida. “After the incident, I had a hard time sleeping just thinking about it. You just have to carry on and get some mental support. I take my sleeping pills and talk about it a lot, which helps,” he told ABC News in 2014. He also got closer to Jeff and his then-partner Erin. “Jeff and Erin, they fill a place –- they never could never replace Alex or Brian –- but having them in our lives eases things. It helps, and we just enjoy spending time together,” Melida added to ABC News. In 2017, Carlos received a Doctor of Laws degree from the Massachusetts School of Law.
MA School of Law Commencement 2017. Dr. Carlos Arredondo, D.Laws. What a Country! pic.twitter.com/2ZaEar1njR
— Carlos Arredondo (@CArredondoGSDad) June 3, 2017
Carlos and Melida also run the Arredondo Family Foundation, which helps military families prevent military-related suicides. They also raise awareness concerning the growing rate of suicides among veterans. Through the foundation, the couple train police and firefighters in military-related suicide prevention and support military families who lost a member to suicide as well. In 2018, he ran the Boston Marathon for the first time to raise funds for the organization. Carlos then became a regular at Boston Marathon year after year and he also participated in several events with fellow Boston Marathon Bombing survivors. In December 2022, Carlos returned to San José, Costa Rica, to expand his commendable activities.