Lauren Card was one of the survivors of the Las Vegas massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in October 2017.
Soon after that tragic event, she made the decision to pursue a career in law enforcement.
On Monday, Card was sworn in as a police officer in Springfield, Oregon, according to The Eugene Register-Guard, having been inspired by the heroic work of first responders during the massacre.
During singer Jason Aldean’s performance, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from a window in the Mandalay Bay hotel.
Card’s mother, Robin Baird, attended the concert with her.
“We thought it sounded like fireworks; like one went off,” she told The Register-Guard.
When they heard more shots, Card and Baird, along with Baird’s long-term boyfriend, Kevin Lee, and his daughter, Kaila Lee, crawled into their riser-style VIP suite for shelter.
They proceeded from the VIP suite to climb a 10-foot brick wall and traveled farther down the Las Vegas strip, eventually taking shelter in the MGM Grand, Baird told The Register-Guard.
Shortly after that, they rented a vehicle and drove to Arizona to fly home.
She remembers the feeling of safety and protection when law enforcement arrived at the scene of the shooting.
“And in that moment, I kind of had a sense of, ‘OK, the police are here. They are going to fix it. They are going to make it better. Everything is going to be OK,”‘ Card said.
“I want to be that person for someone else, in that situation,” she explained. “When they’re going through something crappy or going through a hard time, I want them to see me and be like, ‘OK, she’s going to fix it. She’s going to make it better.'”
You can listen to excerpts of her interview with The Register-Guard here:
“My heart is with the families that weren’t as fortunate as ours,” Card said. “But we made it out, and I don’t want this to affect me in such a negative way and let it ruin my life. I want to do something with this, show that you can move on, you’re strong.”
Lt. Scott McKee at the Springfield Police Department was concerned that her past experience could cause a reaction like post-traumatic stress when Card is placed in difficult situations as a cop.
But Card said that the experience and her training have helped improve her ability to respond to these types of situations on the job in the future.
“I know she’s much stronger and is excited to be able to take care of the job,” Baird said of her daughter.
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