Dozens of everyday people stepped up to help during the recent air races crash wrapping up wounds and rushing victims to hospitals.
A team was also dedicated to helping victims emotionally. People like Lauren Petru – a volunteer with the Trauma Intervention of Northern Nevada.
TIP volunteers help family members after disasters, tragedy or sudden death. They provide comfort, but most often act as liaisons for families 24/7.
Lauren worked the phone lines after the plane crash helping families find their missing loved ones. "Someone who's a complete stranger to them is willing to help them. To say, 'hey, you're not alone'."
TIP is hosting a ‘Heroes with a Heart' gala October 6th at Harrah's to celebrate first responders and volunteers.
A different volunteer, Pepe Gonzales says he was transformed by Christianity. "August 16, 1982 I gave my life to Jesus Christ."
Before that day, his world was toxic and destructive. "I used to do drugs with my mother, we did burglaries together…she would sometimes bring me home prostitutes."
Eventually he hit rock bottom and realized he was meant to be more.
Nearly 30 years later, he's now a pastor for Victory Outreach Church. Part of his ministry is a men's home which he opened with the goal of keeping men off drugs and out of gangs.
But this isn't the only place he offers support to people after tough times.
Pastor Gonzales is also a Truckee Meadows law enforcement chaplain. He rushed to Reno-Stead Airport after the plane crash on September 16th. "Seeing some of the police officers and firemen actually crying, eyes wide open, just stunned."
Gonzales' primary role is to assist police and first responders. "We were sharing with them, praying with them, talking to them. It was an honor."
If first responders wanted to pray – he was there.
If they had spiritual questions – he was there.
And if they just needed to talk – he was there.
He says there's nowhere else he'd rather be. "I wasn't there preaching to them, but just being a comfort. Help the best that I could. And I find that to be one of the greatest joys for me at this time."
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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