Monroe, Louisiana, veteran, Midland, Texas, train, crash - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Monroe vet comes home after Midland tragedy

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MONROE, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - Monroe veteran Tommy Shoemaker was sitting just one float in front of the one that was smashed by a train in Midland, Texas last week.

"I just remember hearing the train alarms and looking back and seeing that the truck wasn't across yet," he said.

Four wounded veterans were killed in that crash and more than a dozen other people were injured.

He carries with him now the scars from his injuries after he dove off his float that day while it was going 40 miles per hour, trying to save everyone that he could.

"Reaching under between the train and over the train, gathering gear and equipment and reaching through underneath the trailers where one of the soldiers was," Shoemaker said.

This week he'll continue his visits to the doctor but he says what he saw won't go away, as he and his fellow soldiers sprang into action that day.

"The police officers, they didn't try to run any of us off," said Shoemaker. "The EMTs, they let us do what we did best. Several of them just gave me their bag. It was like being on a battlefield again and these are our soldiers laying there."

Shoemaker said now is the time to remember and recover and he says what he'll never forget is a community like Midland that, in the midst of tragedy, banded together around him and his wife, making sure they were safe.

"I don't think it's a matter of blame or somebody did anything wrong on purpose. Somewhere along the line there was just a human," he said.

That's why this veteran is pointing no fingers, just giving thanks.

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