Nebraskans Barry and Laura Bohlen huddled in the laundry room of a Las Vegas hotel with two dozen other concertgoers on that Sunday night.
The group barricaded the door, worried that a gunman might burst in.
Then the Bohlens noticed a woman in the group. She had dark hair, and her face and neck were covered in blood.
During the next half-hour the lives of the Bohlens and the woman would intertwine, creating a bond that has only grown stronger over the past four weeks. And the woman would provide the Bohlens a powerful lesson on courage and resiliency, one that has helped them deal with their own experience that tragic night.
The woman was Natalie Grumet, a married 37-year-old from California who had attended the outdoor music festival with friends.
She had been shot in the face when a gunman sprayed bullets down onto a crowd of 22,000 during a concert Oct. 1 in Las Vegas.
Barry Bohlen is an orthopedic surgeon in Hastings and Laura is a nurse, and they stepped in to help.
Grumet’s husband, Jason, said the couple helped save Natalie’s life.
“I think it’s amazing she ran into a surgeon and a nurse,’’ he said. “I’m certainly grateful.”
The Bohlens said they are just glad they could help.
The Bohlens had to improvise.
Without a stretcher, they put her in a rolling office chair and tilted her back, with Laura Bohlen cradling her head. Grumet was alert and able to speak but in extreme pain.
The Bohlens grabbed towels and applied pressure to the wound near her jaw to control the bleeding. Someone produced a first-aid kit, so they pulled out bandages and held those to the injury.
The couple made sure blood wasn’t choking her airway, and they tried to keep her calm. Laura Bohlen told Grumet that she didn’t need to talk, but the woman wanted to.
Grumet said she was a 10-year breast cancer survivor.
Barry Bohlen leaned close.
“If you made it through that,” he told her, “you’re going to make it through this.”
As they tended to Grumet, the Bohlens were still shaken from their own experience at the concert.
They had been sitting in stands near the festival stage when the gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
The Bohlens took cover under the stands, then dashed inside the Tropicana Hotel, adjacent to the festival grounds, where they sought safety inside the laundry room.
Laura Bohlen’s daughter and two friends also attended the concert but were in another area when the shooting broke out. The Bohlens were terrified for the girls’ safety but had learned through a text message that they made it out of the festival grounds and were OK.
Grumet had traveled to Las Vegas with her husband, but he did not attend the concert that Sunday night.
Jason Grumet said his wife initially received help from another concertgoer who put pressure on the gunshot wound. Then she ran to the Tropicana, where she encountered the Bohlens in the laundry room, her husband said.
After about 30 minutes someone told the group that it was safe to go outside and that an ambulance was waiting.
The Bohlens rolled Natalie Grumet out on the office chair, and the ambulance crew took over.
Grumet, who is an ultrasound technician, spent four days in a Las Vegas hospital before being transferred by air ambulance to one near her home in California. She has had four surgeries and will require more, her husband said.
The surgeries have been aimed at repairing nerve and tissue damage and a shattered jaw.
Her husband said she does not have any brain damage or vision problems. But the gunshot left her without sensation in the lower half of her face and a lack of control of her lower lip.
He said doctors have told him that his wife, who came home from the hospital last week, faces a two-year recovery process.
The Bohlens returned to Hastings, but they kept thinking about the brave woman they met and wondered how she was doing.
Days later, through a Facebook post, the couple connected with her family members.
The Bohlens and Jason Grumet have stayed in touch through multiple text messages and several phones calls during the past month. The Bohlens hope to visit the Grumets in the months ahead.
Jason Grumet said the couple have provided encouragement, and Barry Bohlen has helped him better understand some of the medical procedures his wife has undergone.
The Bohlens say they have drawn strength from her as they wrestle with their own memories of the mass shooting.
Barry Bohlen said that as a surgeon he’s seen many patients face adversity and called Grumet’s courage remarkable.
“She was brave,’’ he said. “She’s my hero.”