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Local survivors from Las Vegas Route 91 shooting seek healing

Route 91 Las Vegas Shooting
MGN

VENTURA, Calif. -- It has been three years since the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting, and many attending that festival were from the Tri-County.

In the aftermath, the Ventura County District Attorney’s office partnered with some organizations to help those affected with the healing process.

“You have to wake up everyday and choose to be happy and choose to heal,” said Lacey Newman, who is a survivor of the Route 91 mass shooting.

It’s been three years to date from that dreadful night.

“For people that are going through this you have to fight,” said Newman.

Nearly 65 percent of those who attended that festival back in 2017 were from California. And 7 percent of those ticket holders were from Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, that is approximately 1000 people. People like Molly Maurer, David Anderson, and Brendan Kelly.

“I know I am still here because of God's grace and I am thankful for that,” said Kelly. “I have chosen to make the most of every single day.”

“If I heard from anyone that they were struggling or they were still kind of feeling it or worried, I would advocate hard to go to therapy,” said Anderson.

To help with the healing process the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and the Ventura County Family Justice Center have partnered with national nonprofit California Victim Compensation Board and Give an Hour to provide long-term support services to victims and families of the Route 91 residing in Southern California at no cost.

“When a mass shooting hits, we open up our network of volunteer technicians to serve those in need which is how we got connected into this project with Route 91,” said Kirsti Thompson, who is the director with Give an Hour based out of California.

Kelly and Maurer not only attended the Route 91 festival, they also survived the Borderline Mass Shooting back in 2018.

“I go to the survivor meetings, I have a one on one therapist that I found through them, and there is all these opportunities that come up that I think happened because when you do the work, the healing comes,” said Maurer. “You got to do the work to get there though.”

The So Cal Route 91 Heals Project will also provide virtual support groups, emotional wellness training and coaching, yearly memorial events in each county and much more for the next three years.

“People see me and they think I am fine, and I can function, but inside I think I hold back,” said Lisa Dancel, who also survived Route 91 mass shooting. “I hold it in. I haven’t really emotionally let it all out I think.”

“The idea of peer support group and the idea of online support is being able to follow up with people at memorial events and the other facets of the program that we are just getting off the ground,” said Michael Morisette, who is with the Give An Hour organization. “There is a need for people to be involved in something like this.”

The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center has planned a virtual live-stream ceremony to honor and remember those affected by the Route 91 tragedy. It will begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, click here.  

Additionally, Vegas PBS will air a special #VegasStrong: Connecting During Covid-19, on October 1, 2020, at 7:30 pm.  For viewing information, click here.
 

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Senerey de los Santos

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