It’s easy, and correct, to refer to Joe Andruzzi as a hero after he was photographed carrying an injured victim of the Boston Marathon bombing.
But the former Patriots offensive lineman objects to that characterization, saying he was merely doing what needed to be done.
“I am definitely not a hero,” Andruzzi told Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe. “I am just a bystander, and that led to my help. Many heroes that I look upon are people like my three brothers that are running into burning buildings when others are running out. Explosions are going off and they are driving their cars down Boylston [Street] right into the heart of the scene. They are the people that don’t care about their safety and are worried for other people’s safety and survival.”
Andruzzi’s brothers were New York firemen who rushed into the city after the attacks on the World Trade Center of Sept. 11, 2001.
His Joe Andruzzi Foundation was in the midst of a post-marathon party, after 21 runners (including former Pats linebacker Matt Chatham) had raised $163,000 for families dealing with cancer.
But when the bombs went off, he began helping, carrying others to help.
“But during this whole tragedy, I was amazed by all of the emergency workers there and how they sprung into action, it was truly amazing,” he said. “It was a medical tent that turned into a triage center and from the yellow jackets to the white jackets to the police, firemen, EMTs, when I tell you that it was split seconds, I could not believe how fast they sprung into action. A lot of them are trained for that. But even the others who aren’t trained, civilians sitting on the side that sprung into action, it was truly amazing.
“It’s one of those sights that you’ll probably never forget. To be able to turn around and know that there are many people out there that are looking to help and want to help, when you get into those moments, you don’t think, you just do. That’s what I did and that’s what many other people did.”
And while Andruzzi might object to the attention he received, his actions in the face of a tragedy define him, and so many others, as heroes — for going in to help instead of running away to safety.