Former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, who helped injured bystanders at the finish line after last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the attacks. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Andruzzi was at the finish line to support individuals running on behalf of his charity, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, when the bombs hit. He had been at Forum restaurant but moved shortly before one of the bombs exploded in front of the establishment.
“A lot of emotions, especially driving in today and being here today for the tribute,” he said. “Just when those memories kind of trigger in your brain and things comes to mind and you start thinking of what-ifs and things like that. You’ve got to push that aside and try and make it all positive. Seeing the faces here today and seeing the survivors and hearing some of their stories, it’s truly amazing what they’ve done in a year.
“For us as a group, an organization, how we’re moving forward. We’re going right back to Forum this year. We’re going to finish what we started and we’re going to stay strong and get out and cheer all of Boston Strong.”
Andruzzi said he thinks about last April 15 frequently, especially considering he and his wife could have been in the direct line of fire had he not decided to move closer to the finish line.
“Many times,” Andruzzi said. “The times of my wife standing right on the fence line looking for our runners, looking past the Forum restaurant, making sure they’re all right, cheering them on, taking a photo. Finally one of our youngest runners was coming through, and probably a half-hour before the bombs went off we chose to go down to the finish line. We were standing about 20 yards from the first bomb site.
“Seeing everything go down and go through and making our way back to Forum when my wife pointed out the three young girls trying to carry a woman on their back. That’s the infamous picture you guys all have seen. I ran over and said, ‘Let me help.’ The faces of the young girls in those pictures probably explains more of the story than anything — just the scariness, everything that was going on at that moment. And then finally walking her to the ambulance, making it back down to the Forum and finding out that the bomb was right in front of Forum was pretty heart-wrenching for me. Knowing that my whole staff, board members, we invited cancer patients, and all our runners’ families were there. Not knowing if everybody was OK, it was pretty scary.”
Andruzzi said he’s looking forward to being at Forum next Monday and taking a big step in the healing process.
“I think I’m more or less getting through today and putting those memories behind and making new memories now and moving forward, because once again, we can’t live in that fear,” he said. “We’ve got to move forward and prove people wrong, that we are coming back there as a community stronger than ever. And hence the two words: Boston Strong.”