Veterans killed in train crash were war heroes

Associated Press Modified: November 17, 2012 at 2:16 am •  Published: November 17, 2012
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Two years after the explosion, he was still undergoing speech and physical therapy, while waiting to find out if he had to take a medical retirement or could stay in the Marines on limited duty.

His dream was to serve for 30 years, he wrote for Show of Support. But, "after 17 awesome years, right now I will be happy to just see my way to officially retiring at 20 years."

Stouffer, who lived in Newport, Pa., also was waiting for approval for a Purple Heart. He had been married to his wife, Catherine, for 16 years and had two children, Shannon, 16, and Shane, 12.

He particularly had been looking forward to the hunting trip.

"I have always enjoyed the outdoors and how it makes me feel," he wrote, adding that, "It has always been a dream of mine to hunt in Texas."

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Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Boivin, 47, had 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.

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Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, spent 21 of his 24 years in the military with the U.S. Army Special Forces.

He was wounded in a 2005 ambush in Afghanistan, while on his second tour of duty there. Shot in the arm, he was sent back to the U.S. to recover.

He spent a month in the hospital and another 15 months in recovery at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to his autobiography for Show of Support. He had 13 surgeries.

When he was better, he went back to Afghanistan for two more tours.

Lubbers also spent a year on duty in Pakistan, according to his Show of Support autobiography. He earned a Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars and numerous other awards.

Lubbers and his wife, Tiffanie, had been married for 19 years. She also was on the float and was in serious condition Friday at University Medical Center in Lubbock, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.

The couple, who lived in Fayetteville, N.C., had two children, Zachary, 18, and Sydnie, 11.

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Associated Press writers Angela K. Brown in Fort Worth, Texas, and Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

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