Parents of Martinez boy hurt at Boston bombings speak out

May 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The parents of a young Martinez boy who was injured in the Boston bombings spoke publicly Friday, thanking everyone who offered so much support for their son.

The Hern couple spoke at Martinez City Hall to thank the community and also share some thoughts. They've been home for just three days after a trip to the Boston Marathon that was not just life changing, it almost cost them lives.

"My biggest want is to understand what would go through somebody's mind to do that?" Alan Hern said.

Katherine and Alan Hern are still coming to grips with what happened to their family, and to countless others in Boston.

On the day of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off and three people were killed. An FBI photo shows one of the victims, 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was standing just a few feet away from the Hern's 12-year-old son Aaron.

"I found Aaron," said Aaron's father, Alan Hern. "Someone came over and helped me. I don't know who that person was. A belt kinda came out from behind the guy. We were able to put a tourniquet on him and get him into the ambulance pretty quickly."

Aaron's left leg was severely damaged by the second blast at the Boston Marathon and the 12-year-old still has trouble hearing. He has a hole in his eardrum from the bombing that still needs to heal. The staples have been taking out of his leg but he still has Steri-Strips.

After two surgeries he came home this week, just in time to celebrate his 12th birthday. When Aaron got out of the hospital, before they came back to the Bay Area, he visited the site of the bombings. His parents say that even those first few days in the hospital, when he could barely talk, it was obvious that he knew what had happened.

"When he talked he would ask about whether his friend was okay, whether Abigail was okay, whether Katherine finished," Alan said. "He asked about the other people who were around him. And he made gestures that he had seen what when on."

"These are visions and memories that we'll never be able to erase for him," Katherine added. "And we've always tried to raise both our kids with a certain level of resiliency, knowing that we never tried to shield them from the bad things that are out there, we never imagined them happening to us."

On Thursday night, the sixth grader received a standing ovation at the Warriors game, and made a golden prediction, saying, "I know, they're gonna win!"

The family had courtside seats at Game 6 of the NBA playoffs between Golden State and the Denver Nuggets. The family got to meet some familiar faces, like Klay Thompson and coach Mark Jackson, and watch the Warriors warm up before the game started.

Alan says the experience was fantastic, though it was a late night. The 12-year-old was not at the press conference because he was home resting. His parents note that he is a bit uncomfortable from all the attention. They say he doesn't feel like he deserves it.

"We're just going to reintroduce him to the environment with his friends," Alan said. "And then eventually, hopefully it will be a normal thing."

The Hern's know that in the larger scheme of things, they are the lucky ones.

"As bad as it all was, we were actually the fortunate ones," Katherine said.

Aaron will have about six weeks of physical therapy. He is expected to regain full mobility. He's also hoping to return to school as soon as next week. The family notes, however, first up on the agenda this weekend is a haircut. They say his hair is still singed from the bombing.

Katherine also told us she someday might like to return to the Boston Marathon and run it, but will likely not ask her family to join her.


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