Hundreds gathered to remember Mateus Moore, a 16-year-old musician who pushed his girlfriend from the tracks as an oncoming train approached.

Both were struck, but Mickayla Friend, 16, who was badly injured, is now breathing on her own and even walking less than 48 hours after Friday night's accident.

The happy couple, who were walking southbound on the train tracks next to Earle Yorton Little League Park, didn't hear the horn and didn't know the train was coming until it was too late.

Sandy Friend said her daughter Mickayla told her Mateus pushed her as hard as he could to get her out of harm's way.

"I'm so grateful that she is here, but my heart is so heavy," Sandy said. "He (Mateus) stood for everything that is right."

Marcus Moore, Mateus' father, said he was grateful for the outpouring of love toward his son, but hopes something can be done to prevent easy access to the nearby train tracks.

"We should all be concerned and all be looking for a way to make our schools a little more safe," Moore said. "Our kids don't need to be statistics."

An overflow crowd of more than 400 people held candles while seated on the bleachers under the bright lights at the little league park during the nearly two-hour vigil.

In addition to speakers, the student choir sang a few songs including "Lean on Me."

Nearly two dozen students came to the microphone near home plate, faced the stands, and spoke from the heart about Mateus and Mickayla.

Sophomore Chaz Patton, 16, said Mateus was a funny guy.

"He always cracked jokes in class and made us laugh," Patton said. "I'm really going to miss him."

Junior Harrison Ackley, 15, one of Mateus' friends, said he was so full of life and laughter.

"His smile would light up a room," Ackley said. "He would push people to do the right thing."

Many offered praise for Mateus' selfless act and others broke down while offering their condolences while still trying to process the loss themselves.

"It was healing for us to see he touched so many lives," said Natauja Johnson, Mateus' aunt.

CONTACT David Bitton at 749-4796. Find him on Facebook at ADdbitton.

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