By Addie Olson
Dr. Kirk Neustrom is a podiatrist from West Des Moines. Monday was Dr. Neustrom's 19th year in the medical tent near the Boston Marathon's finish line. It's one that he says he'll remember for the rest of his life.
"The day was just like all of the other ones except for it was a beautiful day," Neustrom said. "Perfect day for running."
He had his photo taken just 15 minutes before he heard and felt the first of two blasts.
"Basically I was swimming upstream because everyone was running my direction to get across the finish line and get out of there," he said. "The first thing I saw was a person being moved to the ambulance with both legs blown off."
Neustrom served in the Navy years ago. His reaction to the chaos was automatic.
"It was amazing. Everyone worked together. It was like a war zone there, something you would maybe see in Iraq when car bombs go off in a crowded mall area or something like that," Neustrom recalled. "Bodies strewn all over. Blood all over."
Neustrom said doctors and emergency responders worked methodically through the injuries, knowing that no matter what, they must keep going.
"There was a possibility that there was another bomb right where we were working. It didn't phase anyone that was working there. We all kept doing our job and kept treating patients."
The day that started with treating blisters turned into a day of tying tourniquets and calming everyone from a lady whose leg was blown off, to a small boy, terrified as he looked for his parents.
Neustrom believes the only thing that's certain after an event like this, is an even stronger comeback.
"The marathon will never be the same, unfortunately, but it will continue to go on," he said. "That's what we as Americans do. We will be back bigger and better, and we will not allow terrorism to stop us and that's what our country is all about."
Neustrom said he will be back in the medical tent for his 20th year during next year's marathon.