Cousin of Boston bombing survivor reacts to SOTU invite - NBC40.net

Cousin of Boston bombing survivor reacts to SOTU invite

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GALLOWAY TWP. -

Tonight, President Obama will give his 5th State of the Union address, and when he does, he will be joined by one very special guest whose family hails from right here in South Jersey.

Jeff Bauman, a man who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing, will sit with Michelle Obama in the presidential box.

The picture of 27-year-old Jeff Bauman was seen around the world. A man terribly wounded and in shock, just moments after a bomb went off at his feet at the Boston Marathon.

Courtney Bauman is Jeff's cousin and lives in Galloway Township who told NBC40, "You don't realize how much you need family until something shakes you like that - so we've gotten a lot closer."

Courtney says her cousin Jeff has been an inspiration to their family, and to the rest of the country, ever since the bombings. "It's crazy. How do you have something so tragic happen to you and stay so positive? When it first happened I said to my mom, you don't wish it to happen on anybody obviously, but if it had to happen to somebody, he is the strongest person I know for it."

Because of Jeff's courage in the months following the bombings, he is among the First Lady's honored guests at President Obama's 5th State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

The First Lady's guests usually have a connection to a theme discussed during the speech, which could indicate that President Obama will talk about the marathon bombings and Jeff's inspirational recovery.

Members of the Bauman family hope Jeff's story can inspire Americans who will be introduced to him for the first time on Tuesday night.

Officials say Jeff played a key roll in identifying the Tsarnaev brothers, even as he was fighting for his life.

Carlos Arredondo, the man seen with Jeff Bauman in the iconic image, was also invited to sit with the First Lady.

Courtney Bauman said, "I'm sure he just knows they are inspirations."

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