BOSTON (AP) — Firefighters escorted Boston Marathon bombing victim Roseann Sdoia home from a rehab hospital Tuesday, with one of her rescuers calling the amputee the epitome of how to show strength in the wake of the attack.

The 45-year-old resident of Boston's North End had an above-the-knee amputation of her right leg following trauma she suffered in the April 15 explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Before leaving Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital on crutches, Sdoia thanked her rescuers and medical team, saying she was excited to go home and planned to take her recovery one day at a time.

"I look at it as 'things happen for a reason.' And once it's happened, you just have to move forward," she said.

Firefighter Mike Materia, who helped Sdoia during her ride to Massachusetts General Hospital in the back of a police van, lifted her off the ground in a hug before she left in a friend's car.

"Mike said, 'They brought me in. They're taking me home,'" Sdoia said, before two fire engines and a ladder truck followed her home from the city's Charlestown section.

Police Officer Shana Cottone and Northeastern University student Shores Salter, both of whom helped Sdoia in the aftermath of the explosions, also were there to see her off.

Salter, a 20-year-old good Samaritan who scooped the bombing victim off the sidewalk and held her tourniquet, said the determination Sdoia has shown in rehab is an example to everyone who's dealing with adversity after the blasts.

"It's just amazing to see such a strong person. ... Her willpower throughout this entire thing and her recovery process has been an inspiration to say the least," said the chemistry major from Reading, Mass.

Sdoia, who works in property management, was watching runners from outside a Boylston Street restaurant on race day when the second bomb exploded nearby.

While she's never run the marathon herself, she did enjoy running before her amputation and hopes to again with the use of a prosthetic limb. She expects to have a fitting for a device in about two weeks.