Motorcade brings Medal of Honor recipients to Gainesville

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One patriotic Texas city is honoring America's heroes. It’s Medal of Honor Week in Gainesville, north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Each year Gainesville invites the men who have received the military’s highest honor to the city to promote patriotism and celebrates their heroism.

This year’s celebration began Wednesday afternoon with a 60-mile motorcade. The Congressional Medal of Honor recipients were escorted to the city as people lined up along the route.

There are 74 living Medal of Honor recipients. Twenty-three were in Wednesday’s motorcade, which stretched about nine miles.

One of the people proudest to be a part of the 550-vehicle motorcade is Stephanie Shumake’s husband, a Roanoke motorcycle cop.

“It’s his first day back after a major accident, and we’re really proud of him,” she said.

Shumake says her husband was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash while he was on-duty in November. He wanted to get back to work to honor these heroes.

“He worked his rear off to be here today,” she said. “They said it would be a minimum of six months before he was on his bike again and it’s only been five months. He wanted to be here today.”

Former Green Beret, and the first amputee to graduate special forces sniper school, John Wayne Walding, also wanted to be there.

“My saying is, ‘You owe it to the fallen to live well,’” he said.

Walding was given custom Olsen-Stelzer cowboy boots that fit his prosthetic leg. He’s now working with the company’s Boots for Warriors program to give two dozen boots to wounded warriors.

Tommy Moore, the president of the Medal of Honor Weekend program in Gainesville, says the whole point is to show everyone who the real heroes are.

“Every one of these guys that you’ll talk to will tell you that they wear that medal for the comrades who didn’t come home,” he said.

The cowboy boots were given to the medal of honor recipients at the end of the motorcade. They have a weekend of ceremonies ahead of them for the 18th annual Medal of Honor Weekend in Gainesville.