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Fisher College honors Army vets who saved lives during Boston bombings

Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 5:05pm
(NECN: Ally Donnelly) - Standing on Commonwealth Avenue, Matt Patterson thinks back to Marathon Monday.

He said, "You could just feel it in your chest was a low, resounding boom."

Patterson was in a Boylston Street restaurant when the bombs went off. Instincts kicked in, and the off-duty Lynn firefighter ran into the street, jumped the barricade and crouched down to help the first person who needed him: a little girl.

"She really wasn't able to say much..." he said. 

Just her name: Jane.

It was 7-year-old Jane Richard. Her left leg was sheared off in the second blast. Patterson grabbed a man's belt and made a tourniquet to slow the massive bleeding, then carried her to other paramedics down the street.

He rushed back and moved to the little boy lying near Jane. It was her 8-year-old brother Martin, who could not be saved.

"At the time you don't really think about it," he said. "You kind of kick back in to training mode -- you know, military training, paramedic training, firefighter training."

As Veterans' Day approaches, Patterson, a U.S. Army vet, came to be honored at Fisher College in Boston. He and Army Staff Sergeant Michael Wall were singled out for their bravery on that horrific day.

Said Staff Sergeant Wall, "Initially everything went really quiet."

Wall, a  Fisher alum, was working the Marathon as part of the National Guard's Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team. It was his job to respond should terrorists strike.

"There was a lot of screaming, you know, kids, parents," he said. "There was a lot of blood."

Wall helped as many people as he could; some of them were families he had been chatting with just moments before. But then he got to work, hustling people out of the area and monitoring the air for a dirty bomb.

Both men waive off praise and dismiss being called heroes. In fact, Sgt. Wall didn't even want to come to be honored Wednesday. They say they were just doing their job and what anyone would have done.

Said Wall, "I'm not looking for any type of guts and glory, I guess, it's just a calling you know?"

Patterson agreed, "I could do the same thing tomorrow -- you know -- even if no one noticed."

But we do notice, and we thank you.

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