RENO, Nev. (KOLO)-- It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and to celebrate, the Alliance for Victims’ Rights hosted its annual candlelight vigil and award ceremony honoring survivors and those in the community that are stepping up for victims of crime in a big way.
For survivors of tragedy, every day is a cause for celebration.
“It’s a roller coaster. There are good days and there are days that you are really thankful, and then there are things that bring it back and it’s hard, but you push through because you are here and you get to,” says survivor Bri Thoreson.
Thoreson, along with her husband and two friends, survived the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Thoreson has never spoken publicly about her experience until now.
“It is really hard to talk about that night and to talk specifically about what we saw and went through and I’m about to do that and it’s emotional,” says Thoreson.
The Bishop Manogue High School principal shared her story with tears running down her face.
After her speech, the room full of community leaders, activists, and other survivors gave her a standing ovation before the event moved on to the awards portion of the evening.
The honors went to community members and agencies who have made a difference in the lives of survivors.
“It’s unmeasurable the amount of support a survivor needs as far as family that supports them, friends that support them, agencies, individuals, everybody,” says event organizer Amanda Cuevas.
The final honor handed out was the bravery award given to local 14-year-old Simon Meiners. In 2018 the teenager was at a pizza restaurant and stopped an older man from touching a young girl inappropriately.
“It’s that feeling in your heart and in your brain of that bravery to go and just act on it. You’re just like, oh, got to go do it, you know, so that’s what I did. I stood in between them and said you can’t do that,” Meiners.
Meiners' bravery led to a conviction and a prison sentence for the offender.
The Alliance for Victims’ Rights handed out several other awards and finished the night with illuminated candles and a moment of silence.
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