Community efforts prove that we are Las Vegas strong — VIDEO

Updated October 6, 2017 - 7:48 pm

Las Vegas isn’t a real community. It’s a gathering place for short-timers and transients who scurry home each night to cinder block wall-surrounded homes to hide from their neighbors, avoiding human interaction until that blessed day when they can leave and move to a real city.

We’re in mixed company, so let’s just say: Balderdash.

In fact, for all the horror the past week has brought us, Southern Nevadans’ response to Sunday’s shootings at the Route 91 Harvest festival has proved that we really are a community — and a strong, compassionate one at that — whether the metric used in gauging “community” is bottles of water donated, units of blood given, dollars contributed or number of hugs shared.

It’s a reality the rest of the world is seeing. Maybe it’s a reality that some of us who live here needed to be reminded of, too.

“I think most Las Vegans can feel this yin and yang, with people who love Las Vegas and what a fun place it is and people who say, ‘Wow, I’d never live there. That’s not a real community,’” said novelist and College of Southern Nevada professor Laura McBride.

Remember that most Las Vegans came here from someplace else and are Las Vegans by choice, not by chance. That, McBride said, may have contributed to the zeal with which Southern Nevadans have supported one another.

“One of the things about Las Vegas is, we know how to make a community,” she said. “We weren’t just born into (this) one. It isn’t just there, the way it was for our parents and our grandparents. We know how to make a community, and how to make a community across lines that we wouldn’t necessarily have to in more established places.

“So I think all of those skills and all of those experiences and all of the ways that Las Vegans are interacting with people who are different from them in a way gives us more ability to respond in the moment to something like this.”

McBride, a 30-year Las Vegan, isn’t surprised by the outpouring of support the valley has seen: “Where I live, this is what human beings are.”

Adopting a hometown

Sandra L. Romero learned of the shootings Monday morning and spent most of the day trying to find someplace to help out. She first moved to Las Vegas in 2003 and, between stints as a contract cook on oil rigs and other remote locations, always returned to the place that “I’ve always considered home.”

Romero finally posted a message on Facebook offering rides to anyone needing to travel to California’s Imperial Valley, where her family lives. Nobody took her up on the offer, but Romero said the outpouring of support she saw confirmed that she chose her adopted hometown well.

Outsiders think of Las Vegas as “Sin City,” she said, but the past week “allowed us an opportunity to shine a different light, and I like that.”

‘A small town in a big-city costume’

Community spirit also can take the form of a grass-roots fundraiser. Graham Kahr is helping to organize a charity bicycle ride Saturday that begins at the Huntridge Tavern and continues on to the Bunkhouse and ReBar. Proceeds will go to the GoFundMe.com campaign created by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak to assist victims of the shooting.

Kahr, a lifelong Las Vegas resident, said the fundraiser came together quickly on Monday, with bar owners and bike clubs all pitching in.

“I’m constantly impressed by how much of a community Las Vegas is,” he said. “We’re a small town in a big-city costume, and you don’t have to look far to see true acts of community here all the time, and I feel this tragedy really gives us a chance to prove that thesis.”

The urge to give

Here’s a metric of community spirit: 670 donations of blood collected on Monday and 501 on Tuesday.

“On a typical day, we see in the neighborhood of 100 to 150 across the donation centers,” said Julie Scott, senior director of strategic marketing for United Blood Services.

Scott, who’s from Denver but is assisting United Blood Services with its donation efforts in Las Vegas, said lines began forming at the agency’s main collection site at about 2:30 a.m. Monday, just hours after the shooting occurred, and staff arrived at about 3:30 a.m., she said. The day’s first donation was taken around 4:15 a.m., and the last donor left between 9:30 and 10 p.m. that night.

“The people here have been just inspiring,” she said. “I don’t know what other word to use to describe the kindness and the compassion and the support to one another. It’s truly inspiring.”

Online community

Another metric of community spirit: Nearly $9.8 million raised in just five days on Sisolak’s GoFundMe page.

The response — which, a GoFundMe spokesman confirmed, had raised a GoFundMe record-setting $9.8 million in online and offline donations as of Friday — leaves, for Sisolak, “no doubt we are a community.”

Maybe some outsiders “didn’t view us as being a community,” he said. “But I sure view us as being a community.”

“It’s always been there,” Sisolak said, “and this just … shined a light on it.”

Are you OK?

Another metric of community spirit: The number of conversations over the past week that have begun with some variation of “Are you OK?”

“I have seen people just generally seem to be more caring and asking, ‘Are you OK?’ first, because they don’t know,” said Leslie Carmine, director of media and community relations for Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. “A family member could have died. So people are asking that first and then going on with business.”

Carmine said Catholic Charities began seeing donors and volunteers arrive at its doorstep early Monday morning, and that so much bottled water, snack items, canned goods and baby care items were donated that another person donated the use of a trailer to hold it all.

As of Thursday morning, about 24,000 pounds of food and water had been donated, said Carmine, and “we received a lot of cash donations as well.”

“I’ve never, personally, witnessed anything like this before,” said Carmine, who has lived here 17 years. “I’m still kind of reeling from it.”

A permanent remembrance

A client entered Club Tattoo Monday asking for a tattoo featuring the words “Las Vegas” and Sunday’s date, said Joni Felix, store manager at the company’s Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood studio.

That inked-on remembrance prompted Club Tattoo to offer Las Vegas-themed tattoos for $50, all of which, Felix said, “will go straight to the families and victims.”

A sense of community? “You can feel it everywhere,” said Felix, who moved to Las Vegas 14 years ago from Los Angeles and, before that, the Philippines.

Felix always has found a strong sense of community. But, she said, “since we’ve never had something like this happen, I guess it’s a bit surprising in magnitude, the love and the support.”

Not just the Strip

Major Cheryl Kinnamon, Clark County coordinator for the Salvation Army, has been amazed that “all over the city, people have come out, trying to find ways to give back and help with this horrible situation.”

“I don’t know I’m surprised by it, though,” she said. “When something as evil as what happened on Sunday night happens, the best in people comes out to overcome that evil, and that’s what this community is doing.”

Kinnamon moved to Las Vegas in January, and she said the community’s response emphasizes the often-forgotten fact that “we’re not just the Strip.”

“We are people who work here, who have families, who have friends, and we are a community just like every other community in the world,” she said. “And we do love each other, even though the outside world may not see all that.”

Contact John Przybys at reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Crime
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County detectives pursue suspects
A swarm of Nye County deputies, at the request of Las Vegas police, surrounded a hotel room in Pahrump last week to take two fugitives into custody. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Las Vegas judge’s ruling will halt tonight’s execution
On Wednesday Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a ruling that will halt the execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier. Alvogen Inc., which makes the sedative midazolam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Nevada Department of Corrections of surreptitiously obtaining the drug for use in an execution.
3 people shot in southeast Las Vegas
Three men were shot Thursday night in southeast Las Vegas, and two of them have life threatening injuries. Las Vegas police responded to the incident just after 10 p.m. on the 5000 block of Mountain Vista Street. The investigation is in its early stages and police were unable to describe the suspect or say how man people they think were involved. Police encourage anyone with information regarding this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555, or 3-1-1
Robbery suspects apprehended
Four robbery suspects were taken into custody Thursday morning after a vehicle and foot chase that ended in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. The incident began when a person was robbed at gunpoint around 4:45 a.m. near Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn. Officers arriving at the scene tried to stop two vehicles. One vehicle escaped but police chased the second into a neighborhood on Flamingo Road near Mountain Vista Street. Police surrounded the neighborhood and the suspects were apprehended. It looked like one police vehicle was involved in a collision with the suspects' car. One woman suffered an unknown injury and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 01:04
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Two robbers who recently targeted three Las Vegas businesses remained at large Tuesday and police are asking the public to help identify them. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Life
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like