At least 25 of the 58 people killed in the shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 were from Southern California. Following are profiles of two of them.
Pastor Ryan Miller of For His Glory Church in Fullerton, who was with Kimura, his wife Michelle, and four other friends at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, posted the following message on Facebook along with several group photos that included Kimura:
“During the chaos, Nicol Kimura was shot. I watched the bravery of Chad Elliott jump on her to protect and stay with her in the midst of continual gunfire to save her, but her fate was already sealed.
“Nicol’s heart was bigger than most human beings, her spirit was infectious, and she just had a way of making every time we gathered an awesome one. She was the catalyst to most every framily event we had. My kids loved her because she was the fun crazy aunt everyone wants. I loved her because she always made me smile. She gave really awesome hugs and never turned the awesome off. Just look at her smile (and crazy faces). If you didn’t know her, I wish you could have because your life would be different too.
“Nicol is never to be replaced. There will always be an empty seat at our framily dinners. But we will love her and remember her forever.”
(“Framily” is a social group underpinned by the principle that good friends are the family that we can choose for ourselves.)
A Go Fund Me page has been established by Miller in Kimura’s memory (www.gofundme.com/nicol-kimura-memorial-fund).
“She did not deserve this and we are heartbroken, but we trust that her life and legacy will live on,” Miller wrote. “We are asking for your help in supporting the family of Nicol in bringing her home and celebrating her life in any way we all can. All proceeds will go to help Nicol’s family with any and all expenses. Any additional money raised will be given to a charity in Nicol’s name … As the money is withdrawn, we will give it directly to her mom and dad to support their expenses in traveling up to Las Vegas and back home with Nicol as well as memorial services.”
As of Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., 37,396 had been raised from 531 people toward the $50,000 goal.
• Michelle Vo, 34, worked at New York Life Insurance in Pasadena. One of her co-workers said on Facebook that Vo was “such an inspiration to all of us … You were a true girl boss and will be truly missed.”
A colleague said that everyone at the office was “really upset” when Vo’s death was confirmed on Tuesday.
Vo’s mother immigrated from Vietnam with three daughters, of which Vo was the youngest.
“It was the perfect American dream — an immigrant family, against all odds, persevering,” Jeremiah Hawkins, Vo’s brother-in-law, told The San Jose Mercury News.
Vo grew up in San Jose and attended UC Davis. She worked at New York Life for about three years.
Vo’s oldest sister, Diane Hawkins, told the newspaper that Vo was an eager volunteer for the Red Cross. “If they had let her go every day, she would have gone every day. She gave blood religiously, and they had to tell her she could only come back every two weeks.”
The sister also said that Vo was a recent convert to country music. “Slowly she drifted toward it. In country, the theme of each song is so sweet she fell in love with it.”
A Go Fund Me page (www.gofundme.com/michelle-vo-memorial) has been established by Paul Warren, Vo’s brother-in-law, who wrote, “The heartache being felt by everyone is only manageable because of the amount of love that everyone has for her is so tangible. True to Michelle’s style, she prepared for this very unlikely event and shared her wishes very specifically with her family. Those wishes include a memorial service to give every single person that loved her a chance to share a story or a memory in celebration of her life.
“Michelle is gone but her life is not. Every single one of us changed a bit when we met her. Every good deed we do, we do it a little easier because Michelle taught us how. The responsibility to continue to share her infectious ambition, excitability, and passion for life now lies within all of us.
“Please donate to assist in covering the expenses that will be needed to make this memorial wish come true. She would have liked knowing that everyone she loved and touched were together, sharing memories, hugs, and laughs as we celebrate her life …
“Michelle’s sister Cathy and I live in Campbell, Calif., close to her mother and younger brother. I have been in contact with so many of her friends and obviously her family and we have decided to make this Gofundme to give the opportunity to those who have offered to donate already. All of the donations will be used for getting her from Las Vegas back to San Jose and then ultimately for her memorial, which will be held in San Jose …. If there be anything left, her family will get the remaining funds in full to decide its use.”
As of Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., $38,830 had been raised from 501 people toward the $10,000 goal.