Iconic images of two soldiers in full military fatigues helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombings have been shown all over the media, but it might surprise people to learn that the two Army men weren't stationed at the marathon or on duty. They had, in fact, been participants in the run. Army Sgt. Bernard Madore and Army Sgt. Steve Fiola were taking part in Tough Ruck, a walk in which uniformed soldiers carry 40-pound rucksacks filled with supplies to raise money for charity and honor fallen soldiers. But when disaster hit, they mobilized to save lives.
Madore and Fiola had both been deployed to Iraq but neither was ever expecting to witness this kind of scene on American soil. Madore told USA Today:
I never thought I'd see something like that on our own grounds.
The men said that they instinctively ran towards the bomb blasts right after they happened. Said Staff Sgt. Mark Welch, who was also with the Tough Ruck crew, "It's drilled into us what we need to do. We run towards it, not away from it."
Madore and Fiola had just finished their eight-hour walk when disaster hit. They rushed to the site of the first blast and began removing debris so medical personnel could reach victims. In the video, you can see the soldiers running through the crowd and directly into the chaos. Considering that no one knew if another bomb would go off right there, that's damn brave.
A Tough Ruck supporter, Carlos Arredondo, was in the crowd cheering on the soldiers wearing a cowboy hat when the blasts detonated. The father of a soldier who died in Iraq in 2004 can be seen carrying a man who'd had his legs blown off in a picture that's become famous.
As unexpected as it must have been for these military men to suddenly be in the middle of what looked like a war zone, their instincts, training, and character kicked in and they rushed to help. It's people like this you have to think about -- as well as all of the other heroes on that terrible day -- when thinking about the people who want to cause destruction, death, and mayhem makes you want to give up on humanity.
What do you think of these heroes?
Image/Video via YouTube