Morrisville, N.C. — The body of a North Carolina veteran killed when a freight train barreled into a Texas parade on Thursday was flown to Raleigh-Durham International Airport Saturday evening.
A color guard from Fort Bragg, friends and family and more than 100 Patriot Guard riders and other military motorcycle groups welcomed Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin home at the airport and transported his body back to Fayetteville.
"By the time we get down to the funeral home tonight, there will be some heavy, heavy hearts (and) very few words spoken among that large crowd," said Bill Amerson Jr., a rider with the Patriot Guard.
Boivin, 47, was one of four decorated military men who were killed in the train crash. The men had traveled to Midland, Texas, from all over the country for a hunting trip organized to honor their service and to spend a weekend with those who would understand them best — their fellow veterans.
Boivin had recently started a new career with a defense contractor in North Carolina after his retirement from the Army.
He had served for 24 years, including a decade with special operations forces and tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was wounded in April 2004 while helping train Marines in Iraq. Attacked from several directions at once, half of the Marines were wounded within the first few minutes. Boivin was hit by shrapnel but continued to fight until he was wounded again by a grenade. Still, he managed to provide cover so the Marines could evacuate their wounded. His valor earned him a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.
His mother, Lucette Boivin, of Fayetteville, N.C., said she had worried about him when he was overseas but not when he headed to Texas for a pleasure trip. He planned to be in the parade, go hunting and visit one of his stepdaughters before returning to North Carolina on Monday, she said.
Instead, his younger brother, Danny, a sergeant major at Fort Bragg, was sent to Texas to pick up his body, Lucette Boivin said.
The Boivins moved to the U.S. from Canada 49 years ago. Larry Boivin had wanted to be a solider since he was a little boy, his mother said.
Along with the more recent wars, he served in the first Iraq war, earning a Bronze Star.
Boivin's wife, Angela, an intensive care nurse, was with him in Texas. She suffered a back injury in the crash and was heavily medicated because of shock, said his niece, Felicia Wickes.
Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, 34, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gary Stouffer, 37, and Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, were also killed.