Panhandle man and Iraq veteran heroically saves wife before dying in Midland train crash

Bystanders react as emergency personnel work the scene where a trailer carrying wounded veterans in a parade was struck by a train in Midland, Texas, Thursday

He's being described as a hero.

Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, just 34 years old, was killed late Thursday afternoon when a Union Pacific freight train hit a parade float carrying veterans, according to a statement from the family.

Joshua's family said he displayed the ultimate act of courage immediately before his death. He quickly reacted and shoved his wife, Daylyn off the float before impact by the train.

Daylyn, according to the statement, is the only confirmed person who escaped the float without injuries.

The tragic train crash killed four people and left several hospitalized, officials confirmed.

Joshua was a two-tour Iraq war veteran. His family said he was medically discharged with traumatic bran damage from two IED explosions. He received two Purple Hearts.

He is survived by his wife and two children, 14-year-old Ryan and 7-year-old Maci.

For updates on this story, follow the Twitter hash tag #SgtJoshuaMichael.

Those wishing to make a donation to the Michael family do so here.

Statement from Sgt. Joshua Michael's family
Words cannot express our grief or our feelings in this moment of profound loss. Josh was the kind of man who fought for what he believed in and for those he loved. Through two tours of duty in Iraq, having been wounded in combat and receiving two Purple Hearts, his love of country and for his wife, Daylyn and their two children shone through. The family appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers in this very difficult time.

We mourn the loss of those others who lost their lives in this tragic accident and pray for the those who were injured that they will recover quickly.

Out of respect for the family's privacy we ask that you direct all interview requests, requests for further family statements, and other types of media requests to Cory Rogers. He will ensure they are properly handled and given to us. We have also asked Cory to initially handle any press releases or interviews until we are prepared to do so.