Renee Cesario was one of the 22,000 people watching Jason Aldean perform at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 1, when a gunman opened fire on the crowd. Fifty nine people were killed and more than 525 were injured in the horrific attack. Cesario escaped unscathed thanks to Brendan Kelly, a Marine she met just two hours before Aldean took the stage.
Cesario chronicled how Kelly saved her life in a Facebook post that was featured on the Love What Matters Facebook page.
“We were dancing and having fun and then all of the sudden there were loud noises that sounded like fireworks, but not lights were going off,” the 23-year-old began in the post published Monday, October 2. “Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire.”
Then, Kelly, 21, took Cesario’s hand and led her to safety. “We had no idea who was dead or who was alive. We just started to run. He kept telling me it was going to be okay,” she recalled. “He even let me use his phone to stay in touch with my sister so she knew I was safe.”
Kelly hasn’t given any interviews yet, and that doesn’t surprise those who know him. When a commenter on the Love What Matter’s thread suggested that someone pass the story on to Kelly’s commander, his friend Chance Willk replied: “He’s not that type of Marine . . . he doesn’t seek attention, recognition or fame. He does it because he’s a genuinely good guy and American hero.”
According to Wilk, Kelly recently had “his heart broken by a girl” and is single.
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