Fort Hood Massacre survivor raising money to help other victims


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 2 at 7:21 PM

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- Running alongside a busy Interstate 35 is U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Royal, with his wife Major Stephanie Royal not far behind.

The 16-year military veteran isn't training for another deployment or getting ready for a marathon. Each stride he takes brings him one step closer to another goal. Helping the victims of the Fort Hood massacre put their lives back together.

"Me and some of the survivors, we talk and they let me know that they're not getting anything," said Royal. "They're not getting the help that we feel they are do."

November 5th, 2009 was the deadliest massacre on an American military base. Investigators say Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on a room full of soldiers preparing to deploy.

"At first I thought it was just a training exercise," remembered Royal. "Because who wold think that something like that would happen on our instillation, in our country? I wasn't prepared for it."

Royal says he made it out but went back in to try and take down the shooter.

"And that's when he saw me again, and he chased me down and shot me," said Royal. 

Royal took two bullets to the lower back, exposing his spine. He healed and five months later deployed to Iraq, despite having nerve damage and problems with his short term memory. 

Now three years later, he's trying to help the 31 other victims pay medical bills and get the emotional support they need to heal. He started a foundation called "32 Still Standing" and is running to get attention.

"We need help. And we really want to try and get this foundation up and running," Royal said. 

Royal's run will end on the three year anniversary of the shooting, Monday, November 5th at the Capitol around 11:30 a.m. Royal's hope is that someone would have seen his story and is willing to help the foundation.

"Somebody, some viewer, someone will reach out to us and say 'hey we're going to help you.' And so until that happens, this is what we're going to do," said Royal. 

What he's going to do is run. Run through the pain, through the fatigue, through the haunting memory; all for the 32 who are still standing.

Click here for more information on 32 Still Standing