Iraqi war veteran and Marine Taylor Winston was praised by the country for his heroic, quick thinking actions that likely saved the lives of countless people.
Today, he has some strong and encouraging words for a country reeling from yet another horrific act of evil. While many people are beginning to fear the violent turn society seems to be taking, Winston says we have to keep going.
“Hopefully everyone keeps going out and enjoying these festivals,” he told CNN. “I know for myself and all my friends, it’s the best part of the year. You can’t let something like this stop us.”
Winston was in attendance at the country music festival when the shooting broke out. Realizing they were being shot at, Winston and a friend made their way to safety and immediately began looking for ways to help. That’s when, incredibly, they just happen to notice a truck with the keys still inside. In the chaos, it was not clear who the owner of the vehicle was, and there wasn’t any time to waste. They decided to use the vehicle to begin transporting severely wounded people to the hospital.
Technically, he “stole” the car, but I don’t think anyone – even the owner – minded too much.
The entire nation was moved by this and so many other acts of heroism. In fact, one local car dealer was particularly touched by the selfless act and felt compelled to do something about it.
Shane Beus, owner of B5 Motors in Gilbert, was overcome by the heartbreaking stories coming out of Vegas following the shooting. The team was particularly impressed with the veteran and his rescue efforts.
On Oct. 4, B5 Motors reached out through social media asking for the public’s help to find Winston. Later that day, B5 Motors and Winston were in contact.
B5 Motors offered Winston a brand-new Ford F-150 to honor him and express appreciation for his bravery, courage and American spirit. Winston picked up the truck Monday.
“It’s been really hard to even get myself to come out here and accept a gift of this caliber,” Winston said after taking the pickup for a short test drive.
As is typical of most heroes, the 29-year-old Winston isn’t comfortable with the label hero.
“There are so many others that haven’t been given as much credit as I,” he said, explaining that several people, including a woman with a broken back from an earlier unrelated incident, helped victims into the truck at the scene and then out of the truck at the hospital.
Winston said he hopes he can be “a face of some inspiration and hope in a time of darkness.”
The vet said he just did what he had to do, and he’s not alone.
“There are just so many people out there like me in our community, and, I’m sure, across America, that would do the same,” he said. “It’s been great having a story like that out there versus, you know, one person who’s just super evil.”
“Hopefully everyone keeps going out and enjoying these festivals,” he said. “I know for myself and all my friends, it’s the best part of the year. You can’t let something like this stop us.”
We do live in a world filled with evil. The heart of man is prone to it, and some allow themselves to be fully overtaken by it. But, as evidenced in Las Vegas, there are far more people that love good and do their best to incline their hearts towards it.
Let’s keep shining the light on those people – because that’s the only way to overcome evil. Not with more evil, but with good.