By Kelli Green

Nicole and her fiance Evan survived the Route 91 shooting and realized they didn’t want to wait to get married. That’s where you can help.

A weekend of fun quickly turned deadly at Route 91 Harvest Festival. Unfortunately lives were lost and many were injured both physically and emotionally. Country fans who were there are dealing with the aftermath in numerous ways, but one couple is using it as a wake up call.

Nicole and her fiance Evan were at the show. Luckily, neither of them were hurt. However, they did realize how quickly life can change and they decided that they didn’t want to wait to start their lives together.

Nicole reached out to me (Kelli) on Facebook and shared her story. Here’s what she wrote:

My name is Nicole, I am a 33 year old single mom. I have been raising my daughter on my own since she was 1, and I have learned to be the only person I depend on. We have had our fair share of struggles trying to make it on our own, and couldn’t have done so without the help of our family. 2 1/2 years ago, I began working at a new job, which was the best decision I have ever made for multiple reasons. Not only has it allowed myself and my daughter to become self-sufficient, it is where I met the man of my dreams in Evan. We began as friends and would share stories of our awful Tinder dates, work lunches and tell each other jokes as buddies. Soon after, I realized he was different than any man I have ever met. He is selfless, caring, funny, supportive, smart, hard-working, dependable and so many other attributes I had long sought. September was a month for the books, we both received promotions at work, celebrated my birthday and got engaged! We quickly set a wedding date for the end of next year, and looked forward to planning all the details once October came around. We were on top of the world and nothing could bring us down. Our month was going to end just as amazing as it had started because we were going to celebrate my birthday in Las Vegas at Route 91 with some of our friends. We have had this weekend planned since early April and have been doing a countdown ever since. The weekend began perfectly, country music, my closest friends and Las Vegas…. What could be better, right? Evan is not the biggest country music fan, but knows how much I love it and helped us to push our way forward towards the stage. Evan, 4 of our friends and myself danced, held hands and sang every word all 3 days of the festival. (Evan mumbled the words since he doesn’t really know them). Our last photo was taken 10 minutes before our lives were forever altered. Shortly after this photo, Evan’s embrace transitioned into protection. Bullets pierced through the sky, intending to destroy the happy life I have waited so long to start. We could feel the shots throb in our chest, just as Fourth of July fireworks. As we looked around, we witnessed people two, five and ten feet from us succumb to the hundreds of rounds being shot into the crowd of 22,000. Evan didn’t hesitate to throw me to the ground, and shroud me with his own body to ensure I was safe. It wasn’t until this moment, I realized this could be the end. As we laid there, with the smell of sulfur in the air, all I could think about was leaving Delaney with no mommy because I insisted we go to this concert. I was in such a hurry, I hadn’t told my parents how much I love them, and now may not ever get that chance. I immediately felt an immense sense of guilt for having the idea to come here, I put Evan and my best friends in the most danger anyone can imagine. The short time we laid on the astroturf felt like an eternity. Cowboy boots trampled over us, trying to find the quickest way to safety. The screams of terrified concert goers almost sounded muffled, as if it was a horrific dream. Laying there, petrified, we had some of the most heart wrenching conversations anyone should ever have. Conversations of our families, our future, and our escape plan. Those three things don’t normally belong together, but this night? This night was different. This was the night I needed to depend on someone other than myself! Evan tried to convince me it was in our best interest to get up and run, but as I scanned the area, all I could see were people with the same goal, not reaching safety. There was no way to know where the shots were coming from, was the shooter inside the venue or outside, which direction or path do we take to an exit. The first volley of shots seemed to last forever, in reality maybe a minute. Within that minute, hundreds of rounds of bullets were fired. Evan and I looked at each other and thought the threat had ended and decided to get up and make a run for the gate furthest away from the Mandalay Bay Resort. Although we didn’t know the definite location of the guns, it sounded as though they were coming from that area. We pushed off the grass, locked hands and made a panicked break for the furthest gate. We made it about fifteen feet before that horrific noise started again, a noise I will never be able to keep from echoing in my head. We dropped to our knees and laid flat on the asphalt, with our ears pressed to the ground trying to silence the surrounding sounds. Our hearts were beating as fast as the gunfire was raining down. Every minute, we ran for fifteen seconds until we made it out. Our last stop for shelter was behind a police car, just outside of the gate of the festival. We had made it through an entire open area with no cover from ammunition, and dove behind this barricade with about thirty other people. We held each other’s hands, and decided to make one last break for it to safety. As we stood up, I quickly noticed that there were very few people alive behind that police barricade. I broke down for the first time, as we decided to make our final getaway. Immediately, I realized our brush with death was nearly over, a few short sprints away from the safety of the Westin off the strip. In that exact moment, everything became very clear to me. I realized the severity of what we just endured, how close I was to having the man I had long dreamed of, ripped from my arms, and that although he has been my hero for the last two years, he was more my hero that night, and forever than I could have ever drawn up myself. I am beyond appreciative that we made it out with just bruises and scrapes and each other. I realized that I don’t want to wait until the end of next year to marry my hero, when tomorrow is never promised. On our drive home the next day we both decided to move the wedding up six months. We don’t want to wait just to save money to have a giant wedding, when the most important thing is each other and our family together! I am hoping to see if we can recruit your help to reach out to recent brides to ask for hand me downs! I have been on facebook looking for brides who want to give parts of their weddings to future brides to reuse some of the items incorporated in their special day. We are grateful for any items that can be reused for our day, just to allow our family to share in the preciousness of life, love and family. As of today, we have the venue, a rustic farm where we will be married under an Oak tree. Any tables, chairs, linens, hay bales, lights, honestly anything brides have that can be reused, would be so much appreciated. It is no longer about money, or the kind of party we can throw, it is about having our family, happy, whole and unharmed. I can’t wait to begin my forever, with my hero, my best friend, and the best future step dad I could have ever hoped to find for Delaney. I love you Evan Charles Taylor, and can’t wait to be your bride. Nicole

Immediately, Scott and I realized we wanted to help Nicole and Evan. Of course, we’d need the help of our amazing K-Frog Family. If you’d like to help, you can donate your used wedding items or anything you have that you think would be needed.

You can drop off items at the K-Frog office in Colton (900 E. Washington Street, Suite 315, Colton, ca 92324). We are open Mon- Fri from 8:30am -5pm.

If you have any questions you can call 909-825-9525 and ask for Kelli.

 

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