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'Someone was caring for him’: Family of runner who died during Houston Marathon thanks stranger who stayed by his side

HOUSTON – Harry Vroulis completed dozens of marathons but on Sunday, Chevron Houston Marathon was tragically his last.

The 74-year-old runner collapsed and died near mile 16 in the Tanglewood area. Diane McMaster said she was walking nearby, saw him, rushed over, dialed 911 and stayed with Vroulis. McMaster said she held his hand while her boyfriend walked two blocks to get help.

“I just said, ‘It’s OK.' I saw his name right there on his chest and I just said, "It’s OK, Harry, we’re here,’” McMaster said.

Diane McMaster wrote a letter to KPRC 2 and recalled the man’s last moments with her. Vroulis’ family was so deeply moved by her kindness and compassion, they wanted to meet and thank her in person. They invited our crew to be there at a local restaurant in west Houston.

“Your brother was a good man. I could tell,” McMaster said to George Vroulis, Harry’s brother.

No longer strangers, Vroulis and the rest of his family embraced McMaster with open arms.

Read: Runner dies from possible heart attack while running his 36th consecutive Houston Marathon

“I was there for a reason. The right place at the right time,” McMaster said.

She recounted the final moments of Harry’s life for Vroulis and his family.

“I took his hand and we, you know, started saying, ‘Harry! Harry,’" she said.

George Vroulis wanted to know every last detail. He said it was important to him and so was personally thanking the woman who made sure his brother wasn’t alone when he took his last breath.

“I’m still in pain but to know that my brother died holding hands with a beautiful human being like her, makes my pain smaller. He knew that someone was caring for him," Vroulis said.

Harry Vroulis’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday.


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