BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A community will come together to honor a young woman, who dedicated her life to serving her country. Calling hours for Army Sergeant Shaina Schmigel are Tuesday. Her body returned to western New York on Monday, and she was greeted with a powerful display of respect.
Tears flowed as the motorcade traveled 40 miles through western New York. The Patriot Guard Riders led the body of 21-year-old Sergeant Schmigel from the airport in Cheektowaga to her hometown of Medina.
The Medina High School graduate was killed in a parachute training exercise ten days ago in North Carolina. As the motorcade made its way to the funeral home in Batavia, nearly 1,000 people stood on the streets to honor their hometown hero.
For some veterans, this emotional salute brought back painful memories.
US Navy Veteran Thomas Bodie said, “I came today to honor a fallen soldier. I’ve lost a lot of friends, lot of family, that’s the least I can do.”
Schmigel’s cousin Tonya said, “I’m very patriotic and there was no way I was gonna go home from work tonight. I have to be here on the corner or wherever, but I needed to be here for the family.”
Calling hours are scheduled Tuesday from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Michael Tomaszewski Funeral Home, on West Main Street, in Batavia. The funeral will be there as well, Wednesday at 11 a.m, and that will be immediately followed by her burial with full military honors at the Evergreen Hill Cemetery in Corfu.
Sergeant Schmigel died more than a week ago in a training accident in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Her death is still being investigated.