Martinez boy hurt in Boston bombings celebrates 12th birthday

May 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Martinez boy injured in the Boston bombings celebrated his 12th birthday Wednesday. More than two weeks after the blast, Aaron Hern is spending his first full day back home in the Bay Area. He returned home Tuesday with his parents and little sister. The family is returning to a community that's eager to lend support.

One woman who dropped off pastries at the family's front door but didn't want to go on camera told us she feels confident in saying she can speak for everyone in the community when she says how elated they are to have him back because Aaron is part of all of their families.

The sun was shining brightly over Martinez Wednesday morning as the good news spread that Aaron is back home, just in time for his 12th birthday.

"It's just great that he's made it back," Danville resident Jon Cordoza said. "I wish him a full recovery and a happy birthday."

Pittsburg resident Sandy Godsey added, "Me and my coworkers right down the street here would like to wish him a happy birthday and hope he's doing great, we miss him."

Aaron was waiting for his mom to cross the Boston Marathon finish line when the second blast went off, sending shrapnel into his legs.

After two surgeries and ten days in the hospital, he was released last Wednesday and took his first steps the next day. But he still has 100 staples in his legs, and his road to recovery will be a long journey. The community will stick by his side for as long as that takes.

"I have never seen one town come together, and this town has for him, I mean, it is amazing what they're doing for him," Martinez resident Felix Sanchez said. When asked if Aaron deserves it, he answered, "Oh God, does he ever."

To help the Hern family with their mounting medical costs, businesses have held several fundraisers. Most recently, the two owners of Compass Star Cafe and Wine Bar donated to Aaron's recovery fund.

"We raised about $1,500 and I think Sean raised about $4,000, so all together I think it was about $5,500," Compass owner Rachael Zavala said. "And when we went to the bank over at Wells Fargo we were like, 'how's it going?' you know, and they were like 'oh everybody's just been so generous.'"

Generosity and well wishes surely will continue to pour in for the birthday boy.

"Yes happy birthday indeed, Aaron! Oh God, get well," Sanchez said.

"Happy Birthday Aaron, and welcome home! Hopefully you'll come in and get a hot chocolate soon," Zavala said.

No word yet on when Aaron will return to Martinez Junior High School, or to his baseball team.

We do know his family wants to celebrate his birthday privately, but that they'll speak to the media on Thursday afternoon.

If you'd like to donate to help the Hern family, click here.


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