(WHDH) — He’s the man at the center of an image that came to symbolize the horror and heroism of that dark April day. Jeff Bauman, minutes from death. The photo captured a raw moment amid the terror, chaos and fear that engulfed the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Bauman lost both legs in the marathon bombings. From his hospital bed he gave a description of one of the attackers that helped the FBI crack the case. Now five years later, the man who came to personify “Boston Strong” has gone through many changes, both good and bad.
Bauman and his then-companion Erin had a little girl named Nora in 2014.
“When I’m with her, I’m not really focused on anything else,” Bauman says in a recent sitdown interview with 7News’s Adam Williams. “It’s a good thing.”
In recent years, Bauman has gone back to school, studying engineering at Middlesex Community College.
“I really want to design prosthetics,” Bauman says. “I’m really into prosthetics and making the material and what goes into making my knees.”
Jeff’s story captivated Hollywood. His book “Stronger,” became a movie that drew A-list actor Jake Gyllenhaal to play his part.
But there have been dark times too.
Bauman says in the years after the bombings, his drinking got out of hand. Eventually he hit rock bottom.
“I really just tried to escape any way I could,” Bauman says. “Drinking was a quick fix for me and going out and partying.”
He says it ultimately cost him his marriage.
“Losing Erin in my life was extremely difficult. I knew I couldn’t just continue to drink and party and live like I was 21,” he says.
Bauman was able to get his life back on track. He’s almost two years sober and justifiably proud of it.
“I had to mature in the last two years and become a solid father and a solid person,” he says.
He’s been seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma and has been focusing on school and raising Nora.
When negative thoughts do creep in, he’s got a whole city of friends who have his back.
“I have great friends and a great support system,” Bauman says. “Everyone in Boston is a great support system.”
(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)