Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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Valley’s first responders are celebrated in true Vegas style


Kabik Photo Group

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri greets attendees at the “Salute to Vegas Heroes” event at Caesars Palace on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

In a formal gathering on Saturday night that was equal parts sober and celebratory, Caesars Entertainment honored many of those who responded to the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip with the “Salute to Vegas Heroes.”

Those firefighters, law enforcement official, nurses, doctors, EMTs and more received the celebrity treatment during the event at Caesars Palace.

Entertainment included a live band, magic by Penn & Teller, and music by Wayne Newton and the Tenors of Rock. Celine Dion and Reba, Brooks & Dunn gave pre-recorded messages of thanks to all the helpers.

Chefs Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsay and Steve Martorano provided the menu and shared their heartfelt gratitude. Because it’s Vegas, the evening ended with a dance party.

“It’s wonderful. It feels great to have the community show that we are appreciated and the job we do every day is worth [it],” says Metro Police officer Brett, who responded to the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1. He declined to give his last name. “Getting that acknowledgement from the community is amazing for us.”

His favorite moment of the night? “I got to meet Giada.”

Spouses of the first responders were one of the groups honored at the event.

“Every day I just put him in the hands of God. But for some reason, after that night, it really hit me,” says Yesenia Woolard, who is married to a Metro officer. “Everybody did amazing that night, everybody.”

Woolard’s husband, Bryan, was in a Metro helicopter that flew toward the window of Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1.

“Police couldn’t have done it (alone), fire couldn’t have done it. It was everybody out there helping everybody else,” Bryan Woolard said.

But on this night, he enjoyed being able to see the other agencies for a happier occasion. “For us to be able to come out with our family members, spend the night together, just be around a lot of people that we haven’t seen in years — it’s a beautiful event,” he said.

Two women who work in the Clark County Coroner’s office and declined to share their names were thrilled to be included. They enjoyed the aged beef tenderloin with habanero butter by Guy Fieri and the performance by Wayne Newton.

“How often do you get to say, ‘Hey, I saw Wayne Newton?,’” one of the women said.