MIDLAND, Texas — Two flags have traveled 1,400 miles around the state of Texas, stopped in eight cities and will soon make their way to El Paso.
A group made up of paramedics, nurses and firefighters, called 'Ride to Heal' spent the past week biking across the Lone Star state gathering handwritten messages on flags for the first responders in the El Paso shooting.
Michael Gomez use to be a paramedic. He was one of the first responders in the Sutherland Springs shooting.
The morning of November 5th, 2017 is a day that forever changed Michael's life.
"When you walk into an event like that, you're going with a full heart," Gomez said. "But when you leave, when it’s over, you leave several pieces of your heart behind and that's of the people you couldn't save."
Two years later, those same feelings of fear and heartbreak once again made his stomach drop and his heart sink.
This time it was his hometown of El Paso where the story repeated itself. One man, one gun and one horrific act taking the lives of loved ones from their families.
“It was like a wound, a deep wound, that had a scab and it just kind of got ripped off," Gomez said. "So everything I had felt before came back.”
A wound he knows can never heal, but with time, love and support can be mended.
”I figured the best way to do it was to hop on a motorcycle because they’re therapeutic for me," Gomez said. "I grabbed a flag or two and hit the road to tell my story and get people to sign them.”
Eight cities, two flags and hundreds of messages for first responders.
For 'Ride to Heal', these flags are about more than a signature
"You have to be brutally honest with yourself and others," Gomez said. "You need to tell them what you saw because that’s the only way you’re going to heal.”
Gomez says this week-long journey has been an emotional ride. When asked what it will be like to deliver the flags to first responders on Friday, Gomez could not help but get chocked up.
"It's going to be emotional, but they need it," Gomez said. "You know my brothers and sisters need someone coming in a screaming don’t give up.”
The 'Ride to Heal' final stop before El Paso is going to be in Fort Stockton.
For more information on the group click here.