Just minutes before 10pm, I wrapped up a presentation and meeting with friends and potential business partners in the Foundation Room, and made my way toward the elevators. I took the short elevator ride down to the casino level, and walked through the casino floor and adjoining hallway toward the Delano hotel.
I entered the Delano lobby, took the elevator up to my room, and grabbed a bottle of water. At that moment, text messages started to pour in from the group I had just said goodbye to…”are you OK?” “Where are you?” “We have been moved into safe area in the kitchen…there is an active shooter situation at Mandalay.”
For the next several minutes, I tried to make sense of what was happening. From my hotel room window, I could see a swarm of flashing lights from police units and first responders, descending on the Las Vegas strip from every possible direction. Up above, helicopters with search lights passed eerily close to the Delano, Mandalay, and Luxor properties.
Early TV reports suggested there might be a second gunman inside Delano, as both properties connect. We were ordered to shelter in place, and I could do nothing but sit and watch the story unfold on TV and from my hotel window. I can’t describe just how helpless I felt that evening. Unable to leave my hotel room, unable to assist countless survivors who were stranded outside and needed assistance.
In a matter of minutes, 58 people lost their lives, 413 were wounded, and at least 456 were injured as they tried to flee the chaotic scene. That night would forever change the lives of those survivors, the families of the deceased, and countless others who were touched by the event in some way.
In the days and weeks following this unbelievably tragic, stories of real heroism began to emerge. Route 91 concert goers who banded together on that field and helped friends and strangers alike get to safety, and to help the wounded and deceased.
One of these stories that hit close to home was that of fellow IMA member Todd Blyleven. Todd, like so many, loved this concert, and was back to attend the 2017 version with friends and family. What began as a joyous evening turned into Todd getting his family to safety, and then displaying a level of courage that is truly remarkable, as he went back into the line of fire to save others. Todd’s perspective on this moment, and its’ impact on his life today, is unbelievable and also a great message for all of us:
Read more here.