Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez, a Hometown Hero - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez, a Hometown Hero

Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez (center), a Hometown Hero Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez (center), a Hometown Hero
Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez
Sergeant Sanchez was presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal on Wednesday. Sergeant Sanchez was presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal on Wednesday.
Sergeant Sanchez rendered aid to an injured truck driver in March 2011. Sergeant Sanchez rendered aid to an injured truck driver in March 2011.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

This week KCBD would like to honor Marine Sergeant Stephen Sanchez as our "Hometown Hero." Sanchez has been a Marine recruiter in Lubbock for three years. He joined the Marine Corps. Almost 10 years ago when he was in his mid 20s. He says he was looking for new opportunities.

"Because I knew it was going to open up a lot of avenues and give me a lot of possibilities," Sanchez said.

Sanchez went on to serve two tours in Iraq as an aviation mechanic and aerial gunner.

"I flew in helicopters and actually helped deliver water, supplies and inserted and extracted troops," Sanchez said.

During a special ceremony at Coronado High School Wednesday, Sanchez was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps. Medal. The special recognition came, not for what he did in Iraq, but what he did outside of combat. 

Back in March 2011, Sanchez was headed back to Lubbock from a recruiting visit when he came across a semi truck accident in Woodrow along Highway 87.

"As I was coming around the bed, I saw the commotion up ahead of me," Sanchez said.

Sanchez pulled over and immediately ran to the semi truck, where he saw just how badly the driver was hurt.

"He was on the floorboard, between the pedals and driver seat. He was kind of out of it, moaning," Sanchez said.

Sanchez says he did his best to comfort the severely injured driver.

"Talk to him, let him know people were on the way. I told him he needed to stay still to keep him calm and keep him from trying to move. I didn't know if he moved, if he was going to do more damage to his legs or anything like that," Sanchez said.

The driver, who Sanchez knew only as 'Juan' was transported to the hospital via AeroCare, but the outcome wasn't what anyone was hoping for.

"Due to the extensive injuries inside his body, he passed away," Sanchez said.

During Wednesday's awards ceremony, Sanchez was honored for his efforts in helping the man he didn't even know. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest award a Marine or Sailor can receive for non-combat. Sanchez says he is honored by the recognition, but wishes it had come at a lesser cost.

"I'm honored to be receiving it, but it's bittersweet. Any one of my fellow recruiters would have done the same thing, had they been there the same day. So, I get singled out for something I think that we do as Marines on a day to day basis," Sanchez said.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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