Now, many of those same heroes are trying to reunite with those they helped to see if they’re okay.
Matt Patterson, 30, an off-duty firefighter from Lynn, Mass., north of Boston, is among those looking to reconnect after helping to save a little boy who lost a leg in the bombings.
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Patterson was in a nearby restaurant when the first bomb went off. “I knew it was bad when I heard it,” he tells PEOPLE. “Anybody who served knows that feeling. I knew it wasn’t right. It’s a very specific sound.”
After pushing people “away from the windows,” Patterson ran outside to see a little boy “laying in the street.”
Leaping over barriers to get to him, “I had tunnel vision – he was all I saw,” says Patterson. “He had a complete amputation of his right leg. He said his name was ‘Shawn’ or ‘Shane.’ He was caucasian. He was in such shock, I don’t even think he knew how hurt he was. I just kept trying to prevent him from looking down.”
With no time to spare, Patterson asked bystander Michael Chase, 34, who also ran into the street to help, for his belt to use as a tourniquet.
The pair carried the boy to medics, then parted ways. It was the last Patterson saw of the child. He then ran to assist others, including Martin Richard, who perished, and a 30-year-old man who lost the lower part of one of his legs. “We made him a tourniquet from a shoelace,” Patterson says.
Now, Patterson and Chase are trying to find the little boy, with the hope that he’s on the mend. “I just want to know that he’s okay,” says Patterson. “Just a phone call. That would be enough.”
“He’s only about 7 years old,” Patterson adds. “You never know; he could still grow up and run the marathon someday.”
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the little boy Chase and Patterson rescued, write to firstname.lastname@example.org