Monday October 1st, 2018

Cortez Masto: We Will Never Forget the Victims, Families, and Survivors Affected by 1October

Cortez Masto Honors 1October

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In the weeks following the 1October massacre, Las Vegans demonstrated that we are a tight-knit family that rallies together in times of need.

Through remembrance, the people we love are never truly gone, as long as we are around to say their names or share a memory of them. 

Today—in remembrance of that awful night one year ago—let’s give thanks for the bravery and dedication of our first responders.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) spoke on the Senate floor today in recognition of the year that has passed since 1October. She discussed the bravery and sacrifice of Southern Nevada’s first responders, the generosity of communities throughout Nevada, and the importance of keeping everyone affected by the tragedy that occurred at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on October 1st, 2017, in our hearts and minds. Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

One year has passed since 58 innocent lives were cut short at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.

Those wounded and killed that night had come together to have fun, relax, and celebrate their love of country music with their friends and families in my hometown of Las Vegas.

Instead, terror rained down on the concertgoers that night. And as Nevadans woke up to the news of what happened, many, like me, were shocked and heartbroken. We asked: how could this happen?

I’ll never forget going to the Family Reunification Center where families were looking for their loved ones, or waiting for calls from the coroner. I’ll never forget the parents I spoke to moments before learning their daughter, Melissa, didn’t make it.

In the weeks following the 1October massacre, Las Vegans demonstrated that we are a tight-knit family that rallies together in times of need.

We heard stories of incredible bravery at the scene of the attack: a husband who died to protect his wife on the night they were celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary; a former Marine who turned a truck into a make-shift ambulance and drove more than two-dozen people to the hospital. A couple who provided CPR to victims as bullets rained down; mothers who went into “mama bear mode” and used their bodies as shields to protect their children. Hundreds of concertgoers who risked their lives carrying fellow concertgoers to safety.

All of our firefighters and police officers in Southern Nevada, including Las Vegas Metro PD, Clark County School District PD, the Las Vegas Fire Department, and the Clark County Fire Department deserve our utmost thanks for their bravery on the night of the attack.

They, along with American Medical Response, MedicWest Ambulance, Community Ambulance, the University Medical Center, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, the Valley Health System, Dignity Health, and all the first responders in Southern Nevada went above and beyond the call of duty.                                 

On October 1st, many of these brave men and women ran toward the bullets, putting their lives in grave danger, because they knew it was the only way to save people in need. Nurses and doctors worked all through the night, not just on October 1st, but for months afterward to care for the wounded. Before dawn had even broken on October 2nd, people in Las Vegas, Reno, and throughout the state had formed lines at blood banks. Many of the lines were so long they stretched out the door and around the block. The staff at United Blood Services worked tirelessly to process the donations and get the blood supply to our area hospitals.

In the weeks that followed, Las Vegans held candlelight vigils. They donated food, coffee, water, and blankets to help the survivors and the victims’ families. They constructed beautiful memorials that still stand as a testament to those taken, and to provide healing to every person impacted by the events of that night.

The Red Cross and the Department of Veterans Affairs stepped in to bring mobile units to our hospitals. The FBI and the Nevada Victims of Crime Program helped grieving families secure funds to cover funeral and travel costs. Our military community stepped in to provide critical support as well. Airmen from Nellis AFB were present at the concert on the night of the shooting and helped evacuate attendees. Nellis medical professionals treated victims and helped save lives, while the military spouse community collected basic necessities for the survivors and the victims’ families.

Providers at the Las Vegas-based Behavioral Bilingual Services were instrumental in addressing immigration and language barriers for so many immigrant survivors. And the Clark County staff at the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center has been there for survivors every step of the way, advocating on their behalf and helping them find new jobs, get compensation for lost wages, and get the mental health care they need.

Airlines like Allegiant and Southwest, and medical providers like Valley Health Systems, Medic West, and American Medical Response helped defray costs for the victims and their families. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals said they would not bill or require payment from any of the victims they treated.  And UnitedHealth waived cost-sharing for victims, so that they could get treatment for months after the tragedy, with no out-of-pocket costs.

But the generosity didn’t end there. People from all over the world donated more than $31 million to pay for basic necessities, medical bills, and funeral costs for the victims and their families.

One year has passed since the events of October 1st, 2017. And I know for many in our community of Las Vegas, and for the hundreds of survivors, it feels like they’ve been forgotten.

But please know, the survivors and those who were taken will never be forgotten. We will always hold the names and stories of everyone affected by this tragedy in our hearts and in our minds.

In Las Vegas, we are still healing.

We’re still grieving for the family members who are no longer with us. For sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, and children we will never see again. And we’re still grieving for the survivors whose lives will never be the same.

I don’t believe perfect healing is possible, but I do believe we can learn to adjust to the searing pain of tragedy.

We do it through remembrance. Through remembrance, the people we love are never truly gone, as long as we are around to say their names or share a memory of them. Through remembrance, the people and families who are still healing from their wounds are shown the love and comfort of a community.

Today—in remembrance of that awful night one year ago—let’s give thanks for the bravery and dedication of our first responders. Let’s continue to do everything we can to support those who are still struggling to recover from the emotional and physical wounds they sustained on October 1st.

58 innocent lives ended on October 1st, but thousands more were changed forever. We must keep the survivors in our minds and in our hearts as they heal from their injuries—both visible and invisible—and get back on their feet.

The Davis family lost their daughter Neysa on the night of the shooting. Neysa’s dream was that her three sons would graduate from college. They decided that the best way to heal their family and their community was to start an organization dedicated to fulfilling Neysa’s dream. I thank the Davis family for their resilience and generosity.          

We must follow the Davis family’s example, and continue to come together as a community. We must come together, not just in Las Vegas but all throughout Nevada, to bring healing, peace, and hope to everyone who was affected.

Tonight, at 6:30 pm, the city of Las Vegas will host a ceremony at the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden to dedicate a new remembrance wall. I encourage everyone back home to try to attend this event, or simply take a moment to pause and reflect in honor of the victims and their families.

May God bless the city of Las Vegas, the State of Nevada, and everyone affected by this tragedy.

Today we remember:

Austin Cooper Meyer, age 24, of Sparks, Nevada

Brennan Lee Stewart, 30, of North Las Vegas, Nevada

Cameron Lee Robinson, 28, of Las Vegas, Nevada

Charleston Hartfield, 34, of Henderson, Nevada

Erick Steven Silva, 21, of Las Vegas, Nevada

Laura Anne Shipp, 50, of Las Vegas, Nevada

Neysa Christine Tonks, 46, of Las Vegas, Nevada

Quinton Joe Robbins, 20, of Henderson, Nevada

Adrian Allan Murfitt, 35, of Anchorage, Alaska

Dorene Anderson, 49, of Anchorage, Alaska

Brett Erin Schwanbeck, 61, of Bullhead City, Arizona

Andrea Lee Anna Castilla, 28, of Santa Ana, California

Angela Christine Gomez, 20, of Riverside, California

Austin William Davis, 29, of Riverside, California

Bailey Dee Schweitzer, 20, of Bakersfield, California

Brian Scott Fraser, 39, of La Palma, California

Candice Ryan Bowers, 40, of Garden Grove, California

Carrie Rae Barnette, 34, of Riverside, California

Christiana Mae Duarte, 22, of Redondo Beach, California

Christopher Hazencomb, 44, of Camarillo, California

Christopher Louis Roybal, 28, of Corona, California

Dana Leann Gardner, 52, of Grand Terrace, California

Denise Marie Cohen, 58, of Carpinteria, California

Derrick Dean Taylor, 56, of Bonita, California

Hannah Ahlers, 34, of Beaumont, California

Jack Reginald Beaton, 54, of Bakersfield, California

Jennifer Marie Parks, 35, of Lancaster, California

Jennifer Topaz Irvine, 42, of San Diego, California

John Joseph Phippen, 56, of Santa Clarita, California

Jordyn Nicole Rivera, 21, of La Verne, California

Kelsey Breanne Meadows, 28, of Taft, California

Keri Lynn Galvan, 31, of Thousand Oaks, California

Kurt Allen Von Tillow, 55, of Cameron Park, California

Lisa Marie Patterson, 46, of Lomita, California

Melissa Ramirez, 26, of Littlerock, California

Michelle Vo, 32, of Marina del Rey, California

Patricia Mestas, 67, of Riverside, California

Rachael Kathleen Parker, 33, of Long Beach, California

Rocio Guillen, 40, of Corona, California

Sandra Lee Casey, 35, of Torrance, California

Stacee Ann Etcheber, 50, of Novato, California

Susan Marie Smith, 53, of Simi Valley, California

Teresa Kimura, 38, of Placentia, California

Thomas Allen Day, Jr., 54, of Corona, California

Victor Loyd Link, 55, of Aliso Viejo, California

Calla-Marie Medig, 28, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Jessica Lynn Klymchuk, 34, Valleyview, Alberta, Canada

Jordan Alan McIldoon, 23, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada

Tara Ann Roe, 34, of Okotuks, Alberta, Canada

Carly Anne Kreibaum, 33, of Sutherland, Iowa

Rhonda LeRocque, 42, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts

Stephen Richard Berger, 44, of Excelsior, Minnesota

Lisa Romero-Muniz, 48, of Gallup, New Mexico

William Winfield Wolfe, Jr., 42, of Newburg, Pennsylvania

James Sonny Melton, 29, of Big Sandy, Tennessee

Heather Lorraine Alvarado, 35, of Cedar City, Utah

Carolyn  Lee Parsons, 31, of Seattle, Washington

Denise Brenna Burditus, 50, of Martinsburg, West Virginia


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