Out of the tragedy of the recent Las Vegas shooting came a multitude of heroic acts and images, including the story of former marine Taylor Winston, 29.
That night, Winston had commandeered a truck in order to haul injured victims from the scene of the Route 91 Festival shooting to the hospital, as ambulances had not yet arrived.
And, on Monday, an Arizona dealership decided to reward Winston for his heroism, giving the former Marine a free truck of his own.
After reaching out through social media, Shane Beus, owner of B5 Motors in Gilbert, Arizona, was able to contact Winston, a San Diego resident, who picked up his F-150 Monday.
“It’s very, very courageous what he did,” Beus said, according to AZ Central. “He was willing to risk his life and run back into the storm and help out.”
“Most of us would have ran and never came back,” he added. “His military training allowed him to think in a split second what to do.”
Winston spoke about his experience and the need he saw to get people to the hospital right away.
“It was still quite scary, but we just knew they (the victims) had to get to the hospital immediately,” Winston said. “No ambulances were immediately available. There was far too many casualties for anyone to handle.”
Winston said he would get rid of his current vehicle and donate the money to victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
During a recent appearance on CBS This Morning, Winston said he started looking for a truck with the keys in it so he could make an improvised ambulance.
“First one we tried opening had keys sitting right there. I started looking for people to take to the hospital,” said Winston, who ferried three loads of wounded passengers to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center before ambulances arrived.
“There was just too many, and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere,” he said.
The story also had a happy ending for Phelps Amelsberg, the Las Vegas man who left the keys where Winston found them, though he had one small request he posted on Facebook.
“To the person who stole my truck from Route 91 to haul a friend to the hospital: I am not mad. Would do the same thing if I had to,” Amelsberg wrote. “I would just like my keys back, please. I don’t even care that the back seats ruined.”
“You ditched the truck at town square in front of Stoney, will even buy you dinner and give you your cowboy hat back,” he continued.
Almsberg was eventually steered to Winston, where he connected with him directly and asked for the keys and an update on the injured passengers he’d helped.
“I have em for ya. When do you want to meet for em?” Winston replied. “I took about 30 critically injured to the hospital. Your truck was extremely important saving those people’s lives. I don’t know if they all made it.”
“I saved the tool box too. We pulled it out to fit more people but put it back in after the 3rd trip,” Winston said. (For more from the author of “Hero Veteran Who Took Truck During Las Vegas Shooting Is Given Truck of His Own” please click HERE)