BOSTON (CBSLA.com) — The family of a Torrance businessman who was one of 17 people critically injured in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings is praying for his swift recovery.
John Odom traveled to Boston with his wife, Karen, to catch a Red Sox game and see their daughter, Nicole Reis, a former UCLA softball player, cross the finish line of the marathon.
“All I wanted was to make my dad proud, and all I wanted was to hold on to him at the finish line,” Nicole cried.
Before Nicole made it to the end, however, the first bomb detonated.
“The next thing we knew, we were laying on the ground. And there was glass, there was smoke,” said Karen.
Chaos quickly ensued. Odom’s son, Donny, and Nicole’s husband, Matt, a professional soccer player, tried to help.
Karen said, “I tied some running pants around his legs to stop the bleeding. Matt took over, he got a belt and used it as a tourniquet. (John) just kept saying, ‘My leg, my leg.’ He was losing so much blood.”
Nicole was left searching for the rest of the family, including her 6-year-old son.
“I just embraced him and held on to him. He kept saying, “Grampy. Grampy.’ I saw blood on my husband, and I knew an explosion had happened,” she said.
Odom, who runs a construction company in Rancho Dominguez and was set to retire in the coming weeks, had shrapnel though both his legs and a severed artery.
He’s had three surgeries so far, and he’s scheduled to have another procedure Thursday.
“He’s got a ventilator, so he can’t speak, but he blinks his eyes, he squeezes our hands,” said Karen.
Nicole said, “My husband said yesterday, ‘Your dad is on his own marathon path now. He’s at the starting gate…we’re going to get him past that finish line.’”
The family is thankful to everyone who has kept Odom in their thoughts and prayers.
“We feel you. My dad feels you. We need it,” said Nicole.
Friends and supporters held a solidarity 5K and 5-mile run in Manhattan Beach Wednesday night in Odom’s honor and to support the dozens of other victims of the Boston explosion.
After the race, the runners gathered for a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence.