A non-profit organization created to provide support for victims of the Las Vegas shooting has issued its first checks to survivors on Sunday.
Colie Knoke, a single mother with a second child on the way, was the first beneficiary to receive a check from Route91Strong, totaling nearly $2,000.
‘We’re trying to help people who have fallen through the cracks,’ co-found Brian Claypool told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Two other women, Mindy Foster and Stacie Armentrout, each received checks for $1,000 on Sunday.
Claypool, himself a survivor of shooter Stephen Paddock’s massacre of 58 people attending the Vegas Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas on October 1, created the organization with fellow survivor and California resident Lisa Fine.
Colie Knoke (left), a single mother with a second child on the way, was the first beneficiary to receive a check from Route91Strong, which is a non-profit organization co-created by friend and fellow surivor Lisa Fine (right) to provide support for victims of the Las Vegas shooting; The two women are seen here before Stephen Paddock opened fired on the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival
Knoke has completely depleted all of her savings, after being out of work for the entire month of October, following the tragedy.
‘My plans to make money all of October went away,’ Knoke said, who works as a bartender and promotional model in Vegas.
‘Instead [of working,] I was trying to put together the pieces and just trying to process things,’ she said.
While dealing with the emotional stress related to experiencing the trauma of a mass shooting, her ability to work had become so limited that she has only worked once each month since October, and has racked up $7,000 in credit card debt.
‘Right now I have nothing,’ she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
‘My bank account is at zero,’ she said. ‘I’m really glad I saw this support group on Facebook.’
To top it off, the mother of a two-year-old is also currently eight months pregnant with baby number two.
To lighten her load, Route91Strong held a baby shower for the expectant mother on Saturday, according to NBC News. And on Sunday, Knoke received a check from the organization for $1,924.
To lighten her load, Route91Strong held a baby shower for Knoke on Saturday
Knoke, already mother to a two-year-old, is currently eight months pregnancy with baby #2
The day after the baby shower, Route91Strong presented Knoke with a check for $1,924
Knoke, who was friends with Fine prior to the tragic events of October 1, was joined by Mindy Foster, who was also working as a bartender at the concert that night, and shared a similar story.
‘I didn’t work for two months after the shooting due to (post-traumatic stress disorder), and I was injured as well,’ Foster said. ‘In January I had to take out two small personal loans just to pay my rent, and paying those back are absolutely killing me.’
Foster experienced a neck injury as a result of the attack, but because she didn’t go to the hospital before October 10, that rendered her ineligible for compensation from the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund.
‘I love you guys. Thank you,’ Foster told the Route91Strong representatives who handed her a check for $1,000. ‘You guys are dealing with the same stuff we are; you are amazing.’
The third check, also for $1,000, went to Stacie Armentrout of Las Vegas She was at the concert with her husband and two teenage daughters.
Armentrout also said she has not been able to work as frequently since October 1 because of post-traumatic stress. Her husband has not been able to work, either, due to recovery from an injury to his ribs that he sustained while feeling from the carnage.
Fine and Claypool didn’t set out, at first, to create their own non-profit organization.
‘Our intention was to raise money to give to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, who had a system and a process to vet people and distribute money,’ Fine said.
The fund has raised more than $20 million, and will provide assistance to ‘the estates of deceased victims killed as a result of the October 1 attack,’ ‘those who were physically injured and hospitalized for one or more nights between October 1, 2017 and December 15, 2017, due to physical injuries resulting from the 1 October attack’ and ‘those who were physically injured as a result of the attack, and who were treated on an emergency out-patient basis or by health care providers for such physical injuries on or before October 11, 2017, and who did not have an overnight hospital stay as an in-patient.’
Once she and Claypool realized the people eligible to receive funds from the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund were somewhat limited, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
At this time, Route91Strong has about $41,000 additional funds available that it expects to disperse to more than a dozen other people
Other groups that exist to provide assistance to those affected by the Vegas shooting including the Vegas Strong Fund and the Nevada Victims of Crime Program.
The Vegas Strong Fund was established in direct response to the October 1 tragedy and is made up of donations from the Nevada gaming and resort industry. Half the funds collected is to be distributed to individuals, with the other half to go to as yet unspecified long-term community needs.
The Nevada Victims of Crime Program is a state-run general fund, made up of money paid as fines by convicted offenders. It exists for the benefit of all victims of violent crimes in the state, and offers payment for certain reimbursable expenses.
At this time, Route91Strong has about $41,000 in additional funds that it expects to disperse to more than a dozen other people.
Those who would like to apply for funding, donate or otherwise get involved with Route91Strong can visit the organization’s website, or connect with the group on social media, or call 916-759-5700 for more information.