Katherine and Alan Hern said the outpouring of support from community members from Martinez and across the Bay Area has been the key to helping their 12-year-old son Aaron recover from the injuries he suffered in the Boston Marathon bombings last month.
"First and foremost, we want to express our sincere gratitude to the community of Martinez -- our friends, neighbors, teachers, students and local businesses ... and everything from letters and cards to cookies and fundraising efforts," said Alan Hern, 41, speaking to reporters outside of City Hall in Martinez Friday morning.
"Our thank yous extend to the entire Bay Area and beyond ... it's these well wishes and prayers that we believe truly helped Aaron recover from this ordeal," he said.
The messages of thanks come three days after the Herns returned home from Boston with Aaron and their 10-year-old daughter Abigail.
Aaron was standing on the sidelines near the finish line to catch a glimpse of his mother competing in the April 15 race when the bombs went off, hitting him with shrapnel that caused severe injuries to his left leg.
Since then, he underwent two surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital, where he recovered quickly enough to be able to return home to Martinez just in time for his 12th birthday.
The 12-year-old, who was invited by the Golden State Warriors to their playoff game on Thursday and met the team, remained at home during Friday morning's news conference and was planning to get a haircut later Friday to trim off the hair that was singed during the bomb blasts, his parents said.
Earlier this week, Aaron had 86 staples removed from his leg and underwent tests to gauge the extent of the damage caused to his hearing from the bombing, which punctured one of his eardrums. He is expected to undergo physical therapy for the next six weeks, his parents said.
"Physically, he's improving by leaps and bounds each day," Alan Hern said. "It will be the emotional roller coaster that lasts longer."