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Torrance Man Nearly Killed In Boston Bombings Returns To City For Marathon

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(credit: CBS) Serene Branson
Serene is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and the recipient of...
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BOSTON (CBSLA.com) — A Torrance man who was critically injured in last year’s Boston bombings has returned to the city for this year’s marathon.

John Odom and his wife, Karen, took part in the one mile tribute walk for Boston bombing survivors on Sunday.

“This has been electrifying,” he said.

The couple spoke to CBS2’s Serene Branson who reported from Boston. “We were honored to accompany them on the tribute walk,” Branson said. She marveled that he didn’t need his cane once.

“Six months ago, if a walk was with me looking at the ground, seeing where I’m walking,” Boston bombing survivor John Odom said. “Today, I don’t look at the ground. I just look where we’re going. I look ahead.”

Odom last year had traveled to Boston to see his daughter, Nicole, cross the finish line when chaos ensued.

The explosions rendered Odom critical and in a coma with shrapnel through both legs. His heart stopped twice. Doctors weren’t sure he’d make it, let alone walk again.

Then, more than a month and eleven surgeries later, Odom took his first miraculous steps.

Being back in Boston is, of course, an emotional experience.

“It gets very emotional but the feeling it’s just hard to explain … what that feeling is like,” he told Branson.

Odom said, “I could have stopped coming down the finish line just because of what happened last year. By me coming back here, to seeing the people, hopefully will re-inspire them to continue to go forward and be able to say thank you.”

Today, he told Branson he would be focused tomorrow on watching two very special women complete this year’s marathon in his honor —  his Boston physical therapist, Jess Guilbert, as well as a family friend, Jen Deslaurier.

The Odoms realized that their friend Deslaurier was standing precisely where John was when the bomb struck.

“It kind of took my breath away,” said Karen, “that she would pick that same spot to wait for us.”

For her part, Deslaurier said it wasn’t planned.

“My husband and I just walked along and kind of instinctively stopped. Stood there and said this is the place to be.”

As Branson reported, being with the Odoms was particularly poignant and moving.

“So many people came up to him, gravitated to him to tell him how inspiring he is to them,” said Branson.

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