Red Cross Everyday Hero: Adam Whitmarsh

LAS VEGAS - Trooper Adam Whitmarsh was off duty, for a night out at Route 91 Harvest Festival with his wife and friends, including fellow Trooper Shawn Eckert.

October 1 was a notable day for Trooper Whitmarsh and his wife. They were celebrating their 1st wedding anniversary, but everything changed in an instant.

"We thought -- at first -- it was speakers or fireworks," he said.

"You have to find a way to compose yourself and keep yourself calm, and identify with what's going on," Whitmarsh said.

"The two of us looked at each other, we basically grabbed the women in our group, and we pushed them into the center of us, and we devised a plan to figure out where that noise was coming from. We originally thought it was coming from inside."

Around them, was a scene reminiscent of the chaos and combat of a battlefield.

"People are coming by us holding their arms, holding their legs, we're actually seeing people go down to the right of us."

As they escaped, they brought countless concertgoers with them.

"To move as one unit, as we call it, and to get them out strategically and safely as we could."

Once the group, and his wife, were safely outside the venue, Trooper Whitmarsh darted back into the medical tent where 30 to 40 people were severely injured.. 

"I need to help out whoever I can help out at that time," he said. "I'm still concerned there's a shooter inside, so I'm trying to find some sort of Metro officer, or somebody there in the vicinity, to post up in front of the tent to protect these victims that are already shot."

Trooper Whitmarsh used orange backboard straps to tie tourniquets, including for a woman who had been shot in the arm and leg.

"In my line of work, we just say looking for work, whether I am engaging somebody, or whether I'm handling something, so once I'm done with one, I'm looking for work with another person. 

He never stopped working. Helping a man with a chest wound, rendering care for people on Giles Street, heading back into the venue yet again.

He checked on the woman he initially cared for. She was alive. As he left the concert grounds, the reality hit him.

"What was I just in? What was I just involved in? That just happened in our city, our state, that was when the emotions started coming, and things started flowing, and you almost feel, OK, here's the human side of things. You're not a cop anymore, here's the human side of things. It's crushing, it's crushing, cause we live in the greatest country in the world, and things like this are not supposed to happen. It was one man and, so many victims. So many people's lives affected forever. So it hurts. It just hurts."

Finally then, he is reunited with his wife, on their anniversary.

"Just that first kiss again, seeing her, and that first kiss knowing that she's OK."

Weeks later, the woman he saved reached out, to thank him. 

"I know she's a single mother. When I found that out, I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm so happy she's OK, cause' she has a little boy. So, it's just nice knowing she's OK."

The woman attended the ceremony where Trooper Whitmarsh received his medal of valor.

"She was there. It was kind of heartwarming for me to see her there, and doing well. So, it was wonderful."

And that is why Trooper Adam Whitmarsh is a Red Cross Everyday Hero.

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