Family and friends of Army Sergeant Joshua Michael are describing him as a shining example of heroism after he sacrificed his life to save his wife before a train hit their parade float in Midland, Texas.
Joshua is one of the four wounded veterans who died during the accident, but his wife Daylyn is the only confirmed person on the float to escape without any injuries thanks to her husband's brave actions.
"Daylyn initially made the call to let us know what had happened, and couldn't finish the phone call," Cory Rogers, a close family friend sad. "About 15 to 20 minutes later she called back, and at that point she was in shock. There was no emotion because she didn't have any left at that point."
After 15 years of marriage, in his final moments Joshua made one last sacrifice by pushing his wife out of the train's path. Joshua later died at the hospital moments later.
"It's just who he was. It was ingrained in him, and I guarantee he didn't think twice about it," Rogers said. "The conversation I've had with Daylyn, you can tell that there's that sense of heroic…that he's superman to her. I know that she's grateful for that. I know she's proud that he's her husband and he did what he did."
The couple had already had a rough road. While on his second deployment to Iraq Joshua found out his daughter Maci, not even one year old, had to have surgery on her eyes because her tear ducts were not developing. To add to the pain, Daylyn would face an even tougher battle as she was diagnosed with cancer.
Holding the family together by herself while undergoing radiation Daylyn got more bad news. Joshua was hit by an IED blast… the first of three. Through the tears, the pain and heartbreak the two pushed through. Joshua coming home with two Purple Hearts, and Daylyn beating her cancer the two never let go of each other until it was time for Joshua to give his life to save the love of his life.
"I think that's something we can look at months, years from now and take pride in that we had a genuine hero in or life," Rogers said as tears filled his eyes.
Joshua's legacy and memory will never fade. Rogers created a web site dedicated to honoring the veteran to remind Joshua's 14-year-old son Ryan and seven year old daughter Maci of the amazing man they can be proud to call their father.
"I want him remembered as a hero. I want there to be a record of that so as they get older they can be able to look back and see it…to be able to have that as a chronicle of their heroic dad," he cried.
On that web site you can also donate to help set up funds for his children's college education. To donate or read more about Joshua, click here.
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