Martinez community helps family of boy hurt in bombings

An 11-year-old boy named Aaron Hern from Martinez was one of the youngest victims in the Boston Marathon bombings. (KGO)
April 20, 2013 5:34:07 PM PDT
Friends and neighbors in Martinez are stepping up to help the family of 11-year old Aaron Hern, who's still recovering in a Boston hospital after the marathon bombings.

Businesses around town, including several restaurants, are donating a percentage of their sales to help the family pay for medical and travel costs.

Hern family friend Nicole DiGiorgio is using her photography business to organize a portrait fundraiser. All the money from Saturday's photo sessions are going to help Aaron and his family.

"They know that people are helping them and they are so grateful for all the help the community is providing," said DiGiorgio said. "And I know we all can't wait to see them and just give them hugs and tell them how much we love them."

Other fundraisers for Aaron are being held this weekend. For a full list click here.

Martinez Junior High School Principal Helen Rossi has been receiving e-mail updates on Aaron's condition from his family. She says the 11-year-old has been steadily recovering, noting that he ate his first meal Friday.

The Martinez Junior High sixth-grader was one of more than 170 people injured in the blasts at the marathon that killed two women and an 8-year-old boy on Monday. Aaron was standing near the finish line to watch his mother compete in the race.

In recent days Aaron underwent surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital, where he also received a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama, according to online messages.

Friday, as Boston and surrounding suburbs were on lockdown during the search for one of two suspects in the bombing, Aaron's classmates and teachers in Martinez worked on a project to let the 11-year-old know they're behind him. Friday morning, the entire student body filed onto the middle school campus's quad to film the final segment of a school-wide video greeting to Aaron.

Students standing in the front of the crowd held a white banner colorfully painted with the message "Aaron, we miss you!"

The rest of the video, set to the tune of Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," shows Aaron's classmates at their desks, at lunch tables and in the school gym with signs bearing similar messages of support.

"You can see all the students are into this, because (Aaron) is such a great kid," said Lexy Tamony, Aaron's math teacher, who was busy editing the video Friday afternoon.

The school plans to send the home movie to the Hern family in the coming days, Rossi said.

A Wells Fargo fund has been established to help the family. Donations can be made in Aaron Hern's name at any Wells Fargo bank.

(ABC7 News contributed to this story)

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