A Boston-area car dealership is stepping in after a five-week online push to buy Boston Marathon bombing hero Carlos Arredondo a new pickup truck fell short of its fundraising goal.
On Tuesday morning, Herb Chambers Lexus of Sharon announced it will give Arredondo, a Roslindale resident and anti-war activist, a 2014 Toyota Tacoma truck.
“This has been a surprise, but it is just in time because the old truck already has over 160,000 miles on it and needs to be replaced," Arredondo said. "This gift will come in very handy, so we are very happy."
Arredondo rose to public prominence after he helped save the life of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman when two bombs ripped through the Boylston Street finish line on April 15.
For the past five weeks, more than 180 people have donated money via Go Fund Me. The push, started by Milford resident Lori Tosches, managed to collect $6,310, but fell short of reaching a $30,000 goal.
"This is more than I could have ever even thought would happen," said Tosches, a friend of Arredondo and his wife, Melida. "I said, 'Carlos, you're going to get a new truck.' He was very emotional. He thanked me for doing this, but one of the first things he said was, 'I'm a little worried. I don't want to take away from the victims.'"
Arredondo's reaction reveals his selfless character, Tosches said: "I said, 'This is your little piece. Now you can keep doing what you're doing, and supporting the (Boston bombing) victims."
“Carlos Arredondo, known to many as the Cowboy Hat Hero from the Boston Marathon bombings, is truly the embodiment of a hero,” said Chambers. “When we heard about a grassroots fundraising campaign to help buy Carlos a new truck, we wanted to help. We hope Carlos and his family enjoy this new truck and know how grateful we are for his act of heroism.”
Arredondo's pickup was about 10 years old. He had used it to travel across the United States promoting anti-war policies and advocating for veterans. He also makes appearances in support of Marathon survivors — particularly Bauman, who is now a double amputee.
"I'm excited to get around and get going. I've been to a few places with my truck," Arredondo said, adding that a trip to Washington, D.C., is in the works. The truck will offer an extended cab, a big perk for Arredondo, who is excited to take his dogs — Chica, a rat terrier, and Barry, a Jack Russell terrier — on road trips and to community events.
"They've been going to many parades in the city of Boston and outside the city as well. Sometimes I make little floats and carry them inside. The kids love it, so that’s a good way to present messages of peace and no violence in the community," he said.
Tosches said that the outpouring of support for Arredondo has shown her that the "love and support (people have) for each other far outweighs the evil."
"You watch the news, and it is depressing, and makes you think that the world is not a good place, but it is. It really is. Our neighbors, friends, first responders — these are good people. Of course there are some crazy, mean people that do awful things, like the Boston Marathon (bombing), but what came out of it has been amazing and so inspirational," said Tosches.
The $6,310 raised through Go Fund Me will be given to Arredondo to support the new truck's expenses, like gas, insurance and taxes, Tosches said.
The truck will be presented to Arredondo at the Herb Chambers Lexus in Sharon on Wednesday.
"My family has all taken the day off so we can be there to see this man smile because God knows he deserves to," said Tosches.