MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — A Martinez boy who has been hospitalized since being hit by shrapnel when twin bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon on Monday is steadily recovering, according to administrators at his school.
Aaron Hern, 11, ate his first meal Friday since suffering serious injuries in the bombing, which happened as he stood near the finish line watching his mother compete in the race, according to Martinez Junior High School Principal Helen Rossi, who has been receiving e-mail updates on Aaron’s condition from his family.
The Martinez Junior High sixth-grader was one of more than 170 people injured in the blasts at the marathon that killed two women and an 8-year-old boy on Monday.
In recent days Aaron underwent surgeries at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he also received a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama, according to online messages.
As Boston and surrounding suburbs were on lockdown Friday during the search for one of two suspects in the bombing, Aaron’s classmates and teachers in Martinez worked on a project to let the 11-year-old know they’re behind him.
On Friday morning, the entire student body filed onto the middle school campus’s quad to film the final segment of a school-wide video greeting to Aaron.
Students standing in the front of the crowd held a white banner colorfully painted with the message “Aaron, we miss you!”
The rest of the video, set to the tune of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” shows Aaron’s classmates at their desks, at lunch tables and in the school gym with signs bearing similar messages of support.
“You can see all the students are into this, because (Aaron) is such a great kid,” said Lexy Tamony, Aaron’s math teacher, who was busy editing the video this afternoon.
The school plans to send the home movie to the Hern family in the coming days, Rossi said.
In the days following the bombing, students at the middle school peppered teachers with questions about their wounded classmate, Tamony said.
Their parents and even those in the community with no affiliation to the school or to the Herns have also shown their concern for the family over the past few days.
“We have a really tight-knit community in Martinez and everyone is feeling affected by this,” said Tamony.
Since Monday, several local businesses scrambled to organize fundraisers for the Hern family.
Employees at the Roxx on Main restaurant at 627 Main St. arrived Tuesday to work lunch and dinner shifts for free.
Restaurant owner Roxanne Cole said patrons showed up in droves, spending about $4,500, which is going to a fund to help the Herns cover transportation, lodging and other expenses during and after Aaron’s hospital stay in Boston.
Mountain Mike’s Pizza at 1160 Arnold Drive in Martinez is donating 30 percent of its revenue through Sunday to the family.
Kinder’s Meats and BBQ restaurants throughout Contra Costa County will give 15 percent of each purchase Sunday through Wednesday to the family, and the Compass Star restaurant and wine bar is donating all of its evening proceeds through Saturday night.
At her office on Friday, Rossi held an envelope with about $1,000 in donations, which is just a fraction of what has been donated to the family by teachers, parents and even people coming in off of the street, she said.
A Wells Fargo fund has been established to help the family, she said. Donations can be made in Aaron Hern’s name at any Wells Fargo bank.
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