(Los Lunas, New Mexico – December 15, 2012)
Giving encouragement to a local hero who was not only wounded twice in combat defending his nation, but also is fighting to recover from paralysis received when he and other wounded warriors were being honored and the semi-trailer parade float they were riding, along with their wives, in an annual “Show of Support” recognition of decorated servicemen in Midland, TX, was struck by a Union Pacific freight train traveling at 62 mph at Midland’s Garfield Street crossing of UPRR tracks this past November 15, the community of Los Lunas, NM held a benefit fund raiser for native son Sgt. Richard Sanchez Saturday.
Sanchez, who currently is undergoing rehabilitation and painful physical therapy in Denver, CO for a broken back and partial, hopefully temporary, paralysis, Sgt. Sanchez, who is among a group of victims and their spouses being represented by Manhattan, KS railroad accident attorney Bob Pottroff and Lubbock, TX personal injury lawyer Kevin Glasheen in lawsuits against both Union Pacific and Smith Industries, Inc., the supplier of the truck, was interviewed by phone in regard to the event held for him, but which his physical condition made it impossible for him to attend personally.
“To find out all the support were getting from the Las Lunas community and having the community pulling together to help one of their own who hasn’t lived there in 13 years is incredible, and I can’t put it into words how thankful I am,” Sgt. Sanchez told KOB-TV, Channel 4 in Albuquerque, NM.
“He was such a nice, happy guy and when I heard about the accident I just couldn’t believe it,” said Los Lunas High School class of 1999 classmate Rachel Sego. It was that high school graduation class and other classmates who organized the fundraiser for Sanchez Saturday.
After the presentation of a $200 donation, certificate of appreciation and membership by the VFW, Richard’s sister, Valerie Sanchez, who accepted on his behalf, called the event “Just overwhelming, just so much joy and happiness that this tragedy has brought a community so close together and willing to help.”
Friends and neighbors in Los Lunas have also set up a Richard Sanchez Recovery Fund in support of Sanchez during his long recovery process.