After the violence he witnessed, the fear he experienced in Las Vegas on October 1st, it was the soft, calm voice of North Bend resident Nick Johnston that left tears in my eyes.
Calm concern for the wife he loves was all I heard in our brief conversation where Nick described the injuries wife Alicia sustained when a shooter sprayed bullets in the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Concert. Calm determination to help her heal. Calmness, love… and maybe a bit of exhaustion.
It’s been a long 10 days for the Johnston Family.
Nick and Alicia are Mount Si High School grads (Class of 2006 and 2007) – high school sweethearts with two young daughters, ages 6 and 8. He works for the City of Snoqualmie. They were in Las Vegas for a quick, music-filled vacation when shots rang out from high above the outdoor concert venue.
Alicia was shot in the lower back. She was rushed to the hospital by Nick, with the help of strangers… then rushed into surgery to make sure the bullet that went through her tailbone and exited through her front side hadn’t damaged her lower intestine. Luckily Nick said it only traveled beside – not through the intestine -or there was a risk Alicia could become septic.
Nick and Alicia were supposed to head home to their girls the Monday following the concert. That didn’t happen. But through lots of strategic coordination with doctors and family members, they were able to fly home four days following the shooting, on Thursday, October 5th.
But, by the end of the first weekend home Alicia was rushed back to the hospital. Unfortunately, the bullet that went through her body had left behind tiny fragments and one had traveled to her thigh, causing an infection. The strong antibiotics used to treat the infection made her sick. The bullet fragments had to be surgically removed.
By Monday they were back home once again, with a different course of antibiotics and where Nick hopes they stay while Alicia begins the estimated 6-8 week journey to recover from her injuries.
He says they’re doing ok, though, They’re just taking it one day at a time and dealing with whatever “crap” comes their way. The focus is on healing, not how it happened.
Nick explained that’s where the focus needs to be after the traumatizing mass shooting. He said they’re really trying to not read or look at anything about the tragic event right now, saying “the more you look, the harder it is.”
So as the Johnston’s focus on healing, the community seems determined to help them keep that focus. Friends started a GoFundMe immediately following the shooting and it quickly reached its $30,000 goal, but after Alicia’s setback over the weekend, they’ve increased the goal to $45,000. “The last thing they need to be worrying about are hospital bills” says the fundraiser page.
Alicia is expected to get her stitches and staples removed sometime next week. Until then Nick, who works for the Snoqualmie Public Works Department, plans to be by her side. After that he said he’ll probably head back to work, but says he’ll still worry since Alicia works from home – and often times it’s just her in the house.
You can view Alicia’s GoFundMe page and/or donate HERE.