He didn’t know who gave him the boy, how badly he was hurt, or even his name.
All Boston Police Officer Tom Barrett knew was that the screaming child placed in his arms was bleeding from his head and needed help fast.
Amid the smoke and cries for help after the twin blasts near the Boston Marathon finish line Monday afternoon, Barrett raced down Boylston Street toward the place where he knew doctors and medics would be waiting.
“I started running to the medical tent, carrying him like a football,” Barrett said.
Barrett’s gripping effort amid the chaos of death and injuries on Boylston Street was captured by photographer Bill Hoenk and is on the cover of Time Magazine for its special report on the Marathon bombings.
The events leading up to that moment seemed surreal to Barrett, 41, as he stood at Boston Police Headquarters Thursday afternoon and tried to describe what was going through his mind during that critical time.
“I didn’t remember anything until someone sent me a photograph,” said Barrett, an eight-year veteran of the Boston police force.
That someone was his wife. She had had trouble reaching him by cellphone as news of the bombings sent the city — and the nation even — into a panic.
When she finally got through to her husband, she asked how he was.
“I’m OK,” he responded.
“What does OK mean?” she asked.
Someone had seen the photograph and sent it to her, said Barrett.
“The picture really helped my family,” he said.
Barrett would not give details about the boy or say whether he had found out who the child is.
When the first bomb exploded, Barrett was stationed in front of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Then the second explosion came.
He raced toward the smoke and saw a man with one leg blown off, whose shirt was on fire. He used his gloved hand to put out the fire and asked a woman who had come to help for her belt, which he then fashioned into a tourniquet for the man’s leg.
As he moved toward another wounded person, someone reached over and handed him the boy.
“I took him just the way he was handed to me. He was facing the opposite way,” said Barrett, recalling the episode hours after working Thursday’s interfaith ceremony in the South End, which was attended by President Obama.
“I didn’t think to ask anything,” said Barrett. “I wanted to get to what I thought was the medical tent was as soon as possible.”
At Exeter Street, he saw an ambulance and flagged it down, he said. He gave the child to an EMT, who placed the boy in an ambulance. He and the EMT then ran back down Boylston Street to assist other victims.
As he looks back, Barrett said he thinks of all the people who rushed to help someone on Monday.
“It wasn’t just me,” said Barrett, who works out of South End. “I have a station full of heroes. I have a department full of heroes. I have a city full of heroes. They didn’t think.”
They just acted.
Like the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, UMass Boston serves many minority students and those who stay in the region after graduation.Continue reading »
Wynn Resorts is spending about $15 million to create the landscape around its $2.5 billion Encore Boston Harbor casino.Continue reading »
Charlie Baker’s record would be good for a Democrat. But he’s a Republican, and some conservatives are saying he’s too progressive.Continue reading »
Some places in Massachusetts could see more than an inch of rain in the coming days as clouds and humidity persist.Continue reading »
Almost four years after the start of the World War I, a distant threat had found its way onto America’s doorstep 100 years ago when a German U-boat launched an attack off the Cape.Continue reading »
Officials from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative announced Theresa Lund was on leave “effective immediately.”Continue reading »
A New York dog breeder was convicted Friday of animal cruelty after a week-and-a-half-long bench trial in Essex County Superior Court.Continue reading »
Mills spent nearly three-quarters of his life behind bars, transforming himself from a teenage misfit to a charismatic national crime boss.Continue reading »
With Paragon Park a distant memory, my heart doesn’t start racing like it used to when I come around that final bend into Hull.Continue reading »