LAS VEGAS - An Arizona firefighter recovering in the hospital Thursday after getting shot during the Route 91 Harvest festival last Sunday encouraged all victims of that horrific night and their loved ones to seek the counseling services he and his family were already using.
Kurt Fowler saves strangers for a living in Lake Havasu City but Sunday, his own life was at risk.
The firefighter’s family gave him the will, strangers gave him the help and Thursday, he was ready to give back once again.
Fowler said his wife and children were the reason he found the will to move to safety after a bullet hit him last weekend.
While covering his wife with his body, the firefighter from the Desert Hills Fire District felt the bullet hit just above his right ankle. After telling his wife about the shot and reminding her of their three children, Fowler asked her to run without looking back and not return for him.
After making his way under a stage, he instructed a good Samaritan on how to make a tourniquet out of a shirt. Then a couple of other strangers and an off-duty firefighter helped him onto a truck to get to the hospital.
Thursday, Fowler was still in a Las Vegas hospital recovering with a shattered tibia and fibula -- a very difficult injury for someone whose livelihood relies on physical agility.
“There’s no way to say it’s not an uphill battle. I’m missing approximately two inches of bone in my tibia and fibula of my right lower extremity," Fowler said, "so to put that together and rehab it, it’s going to take the best of the best."
When asked whether there was a risk of him not returning to his career as a firefighter, Fowler replied, “Absolutely not. No, without a doubt, I’ll be back on the job."
With his family back together after Sunday, Fowler had his mind set on one thing.
“When I see the doctor every time, I remind him the end result is this gets fixed and I go back to work because after the fact that my wife and I were reunited, after knowing that our family will be whole, then I get better and I go back to doing what I do and that’s helping other people,” Fowler said.
After visiting Fowler Wednesday with other Desert Hills Fire District colleagues, Cpt. Steve Bunn said Fowler was healing and was clearly eager to get on the road back to the firehouse and into his turnouts.
“He was in very good spirits yesterday, very optimistic, looking forward to getting out of the hospital and coming home. He does realize it’s going to be a long battle, but he’s in very good spirits and again very optimistic about his future,” Bunn said.
Bunn described Fowler as a “strong” individual and “solid” firefighter of five years with a wife and three kids who were blown away by all the support they’ve received after the shooting.
If you’d like to help Fowler with his medical costs, you can click here to make a donation.
Fowler was humbled by all the support from his brothers and sisters in his fire district, across the nation and from complete strangers. He said he gained a deeper understanding of brother and sisterhood.
Fowler said he wanted to see all those affected by that horrific night continue showing the unity he said saved so many lives regardless of race, gender or religion.
Fowler wanted to remind all victims and their loved ones they were not alone and encouraged them to take advantage of the free counseling services he and his family were already using. Anyone seeking counseling because of this shooting can find resources here.