Like many Americans who were personally or emotionally impacted by the horrific Las Vegas shooting, Michael Nixon woke up to a nightmare on Monday morning, in disbelief and sick to his stomach.
Nixon, 32, an attorney who has lived in Vegas since 2012, told Faithwire that he “felt helpless” and horrified in the wake of the attack, but quickly became determined to make a difference.
Having been at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Friday, Nixon explained that he was shocked to learn there was an active shooter situation on Sunday. He also had friends who were at the festival when shooter Stephen Paddock unleashed unimaginable violence on the innocent crowd of country music fans from his 32nd floor hotel room, murdering 59 people and injuring 527 others.
“It affected me personally,” Nixon said, explaining that he immediately turned to police scanners when he heard that there were shots fired. “I got the call [that there was a shooting] and I jumped on the scanner and I just heard all the police reports and saw everything on Twitter, Facebook and social media.”
Friends who just need a friend, I'm still here and I got you. I can sit with you silently, we can go grab food or a…
Nixon and his roommates were so emotionally impacted by the traumatic event that they spent the entire night awake.
“I felt helpless. I had a hard time figuring out what I should be doing,” he said. “A lot of my friends who were at the event, they’re in shock, they’re grieving. They watched people die. They were climbing over bodies. They were experiencing things they never should have experienced.”
On Monday morning, Nixon and his friends started thinking deeper about how they could make an impact. Around 1 p.m., he had a plan: Nixon left his office and headed out to see how he could help on the ground.
That’s when he initially took to social media to ask his friends to pitch in with donations so he could assist the scores of people waiting for injured loved ones at local hospitals as well as those who had been hunkering down in Vegas shelters after the shooting.
The response to his social media posts was absolutely overwhelming, he explained.
“I started gathering a list of things that I needed for people who didn’t think they’d be in a shelter or hospital — food, water [and other supplies],” he said. “I posted a couple of things on Facebook. The phone calls have been overwhelming … I’m just blown away.”
Posted by Michael Nixon on Monday, October 2, 2017
Nixon and his friends raised enough money to buy phone chargers, supplies, foam mats, sleeping bags and plenty of other items that the victims and their family members can use.
And along the way, the entire community pitched in, including the manager of a local Walmart, who was so moved that he gave Nixon and his friends a $100 gift card to help with their efforts.
“It’s been a local community effort, completely spontaneous,” Nixon told Faithwire. “It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced.”
After collecting the supplies, he and his friends drove to Fire Department Station 66, where he said distribution to victims and their families is being spearheaded.
That’s where he dropped everything off and spent Monday working to help ensure that those in need receive assistance.
The giving and kind community response — and Nixon’s role in taking initiative with his friends to help fundraise and collect supplies — has heartened Nixon, even amid the pain. It has also shown that every, single person truly can make a notable difference.
Nixon found it “incredible” to see long lines at local blood banks, scores of supplies, and his own Facebook friends stepping up to the plate to selflessly help others. Collectively, the individual acts of kindness made a wave of difference.
“I woke up this morning just crushed … I didn’t want to wake up to this,” he said. Over the past 24 hours, however, his emotions have done a 180, as he’s seen kindness reign. “The experience that I’ve had — my heart [went from] wondering, ‘What’s the point?’ To being so full I don’t know what to do with myself.”
A very special and unyielding thanks to these folks, among countless others, for their selfless dedication to our…
In addition to donating supplies to help others, Nixon said there’s something else people can do if they want to make a difference: show love to others.
“One of the coolest things about today is people are asking me, ‘What can I do to help?'” he said. “The answer is: love somebody, hug somebody.”
In the end, Nixon said that the shooting itself won’t define Las Vegas, the way the community reacts to it will. People — like Michael Nixon — are proving that the best of humanity will not be defeated by those who wish to bring evil and violence to the world around them.
For anyone still looking to help, a GoFundMe has been organized to help the victims.