So it wasn't long after I met you, and I think I met you up in Sacramento, so it wasn't very long after, and I was actually at home reading a news article because there had been an incident in Las Vegas that happened, and there was a shooting, you know, everything that goes along with that. But then I'm flipping through this news article about a local fireman where I live, and I'm reading about him and his girlfriend, and as I'm reading through it, I see Trish Pollett mentioned in this article. My heart dropped, my jaw dropped, thought oh my God, why is her name in here? Tell me, why was your name in that article?
We had been at the concert in Las Vegas, the Route 91 Harvest Festival, and we're having a wonderful weekend with some friends. Bruce and I were there with another couple. He works for the fire department also and then another guy who I went through the Fire Academy with who's also with our fire department.
We were watching the concert and there was this nice couple in front of us that we started talking to. It turned out he works for the fire department as well. We'd been talking to him and his girlfriend for probably about an hour. He'd gone and bought a round of beers. We're hoping the person that was passed out on the ground in front of us wouldn't throw up on our boots.
Next thing you know, we were kind of holding our ground and enjoy watching Jason Aldean, and a few songs in the shooting started. The guys thought that it was firecrackers, and I looked around and I saw a group of people off to the side pull back. I was trying to convince them, I felt really strongly that it was shooting, that it wasn't firecrackers. And something I saw off to the side, everybody backed up like when there's a fight, but I thought, oh, those must be the firecrackers.
There was no smoke and no smell and then it became very real. When Christina had... I didn't realize she leaned in and told Kelly she couldn't catch her breath. What I saw was Christina falling to the ground. She had been shot in the chest. Bruce, Kelly and I all got to the ground and our other friend Ed, and I sent Ed for help and not really realizing how big of a thing this was going to be.
It turned out that I looked and I saw blood pouring out of the side of Christina's chest and realized she had been shot. Then our whole focus turned to, I tried putting pressure on it knowing it wasn't going to do a ton of good. But we were just trying to figure out the best way to get out of there and as quick as we could.
The three of us picked up Christina, started carrying her out. Lots of detail to the story beyond that, but basically we got her out of the venue and into a truck and pushed Kelly up in the truck with her. We didn't know if we'd ever see the two of them again. Then in the process of all that, Bruce had been shot in the foot. So as we're carrying Christine out, Bruce is contending with, I can't even imagine how much pain that was, with being shot in the foot in his boot and all.
Did you guys realize at that point that he had been shot, or was there still so
welcome back to her brotherhood, where we embraced triumph over tragedy. In the previous episode, we met San Diego Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Trish Paulette. What you're about to hear is part two of her interview. And if you haven't yet, you should take a listen to the first half in it. She talks about how she got into this adventurous career. And what letter to this devastating life changing event in Vegas. Thank you for being here with us. It is an honor to serve you now is Paul Harvey would say onto the rest of the story. So it wasn't long after I met you in, I think it might chip in Sacramento. So it wasn't very long after, and I was actually at home reading a news article because there had been an incident in Las Vegas that happened. And there was a shooting, You know, everything that goes along with that. But then I'm flipping through this news article about a local fireman where I live, and I'm reading about him in his girlfriend. And as I'm reading through it, I see Trish Paul. It mentioned in this article My heart dropped, my jaw dropped go. Oh, my God. Why is her name in here? Tell me, why was your name in that article?
We had been at the concert in Las Vegas, the Route 91 Harvest Festival. And we're having a wonderful weekend. Which some friends, Spruce and I were there with another couple. He worked for the Fire Department also, And then another guy who I went through the fire Academy Wiccans, also with our fire department. And we were watching the concert and there was this nice couple in front of us that we started talking to. Turned out, he worked for the fire department as well, and we've been talking to him and his girlfriend for play about an hour. He's gone and bought a round of beers, and we're hoping the person that was passed out on the ground in front of us wouldn't throw up on our boots. Next thing you know, we're kind of holding our ground and enjoy watching Jason Eldeen and a few songs in the shooting started and the guys thought that it was firecrackers and I looked around and I saw a group of people off to the side pull back. I was trying to convince my felt really strongly that it was shooting, that it wasn't firecrackers and something I saw off to the side. Everybody backed up like when there's a fight. But there was, I thought, Oh, those must be firecrackers And there was no smoke and no smell. And then it became very riel. When, um, Kristina had I I didn't realize she leaned in and told Kelly she couldn't catch her breath. What I thought was Christina falling to the ground and she had been shot in the chest. And so we rush. Kelly and I all got to the ground and our other friend and I sent Ed for help and not really realizing how big of a thing this was gonna be. And so it turned out that I looked and I saw blood pouring out of sight of Kristina's chest and realized she had been shot. And then the whole focus turned thio. I tried putting pressure on it, knowing it wasn't going to do a ton of good, but, um, we were just trying to figure out the best way to get out of there. And as quick as we could, the three of us picked up. Kristina started carrying her out. Lots of detail to the story beyond that. But basically, we, uh we got her out of the venue and into a truck and pushed Kelly up in the truck with her, and we didn't know if we'd ever see the two of them again. And then, Ah, in the process of all that, Bruce had been shot in the foot. So as we're carrying Christine out, Bruce is contending with I can't even imagine how much pain that was on the with being shot in this putting his boot in all.
Did you guys realize that at that point that he had been shot or was there so, so much chaos?
No, we we knew instantly. So after Kristina was hit, we were on the ground. I was on top of Christina and, you know, trying to listen to her lung sounds and putting my head on her chest, trying to see a you know, make sure I could hear her heart and hear her lungs. And she wasn't really talking. Kelly was up by her head, so he was basically trying to keep her awake and keep talking to her to see if, uh, make sure she was okay. And then I got up on trying to get Bruce to get down on the ground, and he wouldn't. He was trying to see where the shots were coming from and figure out how to get us out of there, Which perfect, Because that's what we do in teams,
Can't I'll do the same thing. We gotta cover our bases and take on different things. So he was getting everything figured out, and I I was kneeling behind him, and I felt this burning on my leg and I reached down, and I thought, Oh, my God, Did I just get shot? Because everybody says it feels like you're burned, but reach down. They feel my leg, and I don't see anything, so I go. Okay. Well, I must be fine. And right then Bruce turned to me and told me he was shot.
Oh, my God.
And got shot in the foot. So, um, it putting it all together. In the end, some of the some of the fragments of the bullet had ricocheted off his boot and hit my legs. I just had little scratches from that, but he actually had the bullet fragments in his toe once. We found out later. So if the moment it happened, I I looked at his boot and I was trying to check. And the ways up bullet fragment went in. It actually pulled the leather so you couldn't see where the bullet went in. So I feel like a horrible wife. I said, I know you think you were shot, but I think you're okay. I think it's
And I'm sure, Yeah,
it hurts, but there's no blood. We gotta get Christine outta here and kind of did but talk. And so then we ended up turning around. I grabbed Kristina's legs. Kelly and Bruce grabbed her from where she had been shot in the chest. It also hit her arm. So her arm was completely broken up on her humerus. Her upper I'm there, so yeah, we got him out and got him into the truck on the way to the hospital. And then Bruce and I went another block away and ended up finally getting him in a car, and, uh, random stranger transported us to the hospital. I was in the backseat with another gal who had been shot in the leg. And then there was two more people in the back like hatchback of that vehicle. When we got to the emergency room and I carried the one girl in, Bruce got in and I put the gal down on a gurney and went into looking kind of see what was going on in the hospital. And if we could get help and turned my head and I looked down and there Kelly's beautiful face and he saw me and I saw him. And they're just like, that huge sense of relief that, you know, they were in safe and doing okay. And I ended up rolling Bruce around. And so Bruce stayed there by them in my hospital, and we ended up meeting some other people who we, uh, still keep in touch with Kelly and Christina and Addie and Maria and another guy named Jeff who had lost his phone. And he ended up living three miles from me back in San Diego. I mean, way ended up having lunch. Yeah, ended up having lunch in Clermont Clermont area of San Diego with him and his mom. So yeah, it's just It's a small world and
such a tight knit community. I mean, such in Vegas and then so many close degrees right there. I mean, a set of fire. I didn't even know all the firefighters standing there at the time, you know, and then you before them. And then And that's what just shocked me, is seeing like Kern County and then seeing you and in the article doesn't even talk about you being a firefighter as well. It's just like, Oh and Trish, and it's like and in my head, I'm another fire five from another department. It's just it's also interconnected, and it's just crazy that you guys are at this concert is shooting starts, and there's one point where you're holding a woman who's been shot in the chest. Your husband has been shot in the foot. I mean, I just I can't imagine. I just can't imagine the emotions happening at that time. And what what better people that handle the situation, knowing that you guys have had chaos in your life and had emergencies, but now you are in the emergency, you're not there. Responding by
definitely is a little different when you're in that you're not in a role, and we've We've talked with some friends of ours who have been through some different things, like a significant trauma, and one of the things we all realized is those things that affect us the most, or when we didn't have, we call it our armor. We didn't have our armor up. You know, we weren't in our normal response mode or not in our typical way of going after things. The nice thing for Bruce. And I think it's just fact that we had each other through all of this. I mean, I'm so grateful and I posted that night from the hospital just a quick post on Facebook because I mean, it was late. I think by
time we got rushed to the hospital, I want to say it was the shooting happened around 10 o'clock, so it's about midnight. I knew a lot of people knew hours at the concert, so I just put a post on Facebook. I think I said we're fine or were good
like I think I said we're fine So then a lot of people are like, Oh, thank
God, not resistant show them with people. Right. But in
the big picture, it's
we are B, we're fine. We were in the hospital with for people who didn't make it and other people who, like Christina, had been shot in the chest. And I mean, we knew Bruce was gonna gonna be fine, you know, we were gonna make it. So it was just one of those things and realizing that there was just a lot of things for us over the next. A few days of him healing in the next month. A lot of shitting around and talking and figuring out what we wanted to come out of this because it was such a horrible situation.
What was in
there was so much
wasn't see what wasn't. That was following weeks and months. What was it that was just flashing in your mind? What were the pieces that stuck with you?
The biggest thing is, you know, Bruce was struggling with being very angry, and I was feeling so fortunate and yet so overwhelmingly sad for all other people who had lost so much. We just kept telling each other, you know, we need to for our sake, we need to not let that asshole take anything away from us. We really, you know, he doesn't get to take anything that we love. So we started making our checklist of all the things that we needed to do that otherwise people might not like. We picked the next concert that we were going to go to. We went to our next concert. About a month later, we went shooting out in the desert because we enjoy shooting guns. And Bruce is a hunter, you know, And that's something that's important us. We didn't wantto have that fear and going out in large public venues going back to Vegas, there were. It's just this list of things that night with our friend. We're all supposed to go out to dinner after the show, we were all gonna go to Denny's and how chicken fried steak and eggs. So part of our closure was going to Denny's and having chicken fried steak
you know, it's just the, um this some little things and some big things, but really working through that When we went to our first concert, Bruce was still on crutches, and, uh that it was kind of a blur. But we went with my dear friend Tim, now who had been my best friend since second grade. And her father was the one who helped raise me that I talked about earlier to her and her husband went to the concert with us. Just having them there sound really help with getting us through it, But, yeah, it was. I think that's the biggest thing is, we're just We're not the kind of people that they're gonna let anyone dictate what our life's gonna be. So that guy definitely didn't get to have that power over us.
So were you guys Would you say that you guys were demonstrating some, like, typical post traumatic stress? Um, symptoms after that. And did you guys reach out for help?
We did. Yeah. Um, the first personally reached out two. Um, told us that all the the list that we had made was very healthy. That that was one of the things that she would have recommended to us. So she felt like we were going down a good path. And at that point, we felt like we were talking to each other and didn't really need to do much help. So we took a break and waited to see what happened. And then I think the biggest thing for me was there was a lot of crime. I'm not a crier. I have not typically been a crier. But there were just so many things that were weighing so heavy on me. And so seeing someone, I ended up going and seeing a gentleman. Who? A doctor who helped me with a thing called Cmdr. Think it, um, I am movement
some rapid eye movement therapy.
Exactly. Exactly. E m b e r
And we didn't do that at first, but we did that. And, um, that was really, really helpful
for me. Tell me. Tell me about that. Because I've heard amazing things about it. And so, you know, you were approached with this and tell me about that experience, Like how it really works.
So for me, we did it two different ways. One way of doing it is, um, where you might with my eyes I'd follow his fingers on, think through the event, and as I'm going through it, then at some point, he, you know, just tell me, watch my fingers and then he'd say, You know where you at now? And I tell him where I was in the series of that night and walking through some of the details. Then he just have me keep going with that. That was because of what I saw. So there were also I smelled blood for five days after the concert. I didn't know if that was ever gonna go away, and I was so grateful when it did. But because it was also true, Son three for me, other than just what I saw, he did another technique that had to do with, like, little buzzers in my hand. It would do a similar type thing, and that was to capture more of the other senses versus just what I had seen. So
the combination of the two is absolutely amazing. There was one part of that night when we had carried Christine out. Initially, we the guy started shooting again when we started carrying her and running. There was a break in the shooting when he started shooting again, I saw a shiny bar cable, and so we went, took cover behind that and where we were, there was another gal who I saw who had been shot, and I was in a very large puddle of blood for a very long time. After the concert, I wondered. I mean, we had our hands full trying to get Kristina out of there and from everything I've seen. And I know I didn't believe that that person was still alive or that she could have survived based on what I saw. And again, just, you know, with work experience, you kind of get a sense of you know what, when you're going to make a difference and when you're not, even though you always try. But that night there was nothing that I could do, and there were some other people there with us. So we're kind of hoping that they would be able to try to help her and weak grab crispy, and I flipped. I found a bar cart, ran out about 10 15 feet away, slipped everything off the bar, car ran back over. Kristina was lifted onto the bar cart by Bruce Kelley and I, and then we rolled her out the rest of the way to the truck. But in the process of all of that, that was really one of my sticking point for the night was the gal that I had seen and not knowing if he made it or not. And I eventually got closure on that. But then there was a post when it was her birthday and there was a post about her kids and through all of that, everything I saw, I was just making me so sad and I couldn't talk about it or even think about it without crying. So obviously the
fact that I'm
able to do this now is a direct result of the work we did with the MDR
you saw you knew that she didn't make you figured out who she waas later. Yeah, yeah, I could only manage. She
had not made it.
So that was one of the sensory things that he worked with you three MDR to get. So when you recall those memories, they they didn't basically didn't impact you so much.
Exactly, and that that's basically it's just desensitizing. And there's a lot of other things we worked on. There were some people that said they got those buzzers that go in their hands and that they were good you know they could do that themselves. And there really were some other skills learning about empathy, sympathy and compassion and how those affect me and how I can use those. There were just a lot of tools were very fortunate that the group that we're able to work with they're called Focus on Focused Psychological Service is in San Diego and they have a contract with our police department and with our fire department and just they're very experienced clinicians with post traumatic stress
dumb traumatic experiences. Having having someone who knew what they were doing were invaluable,
very grateful. And I know a lot of people think they're like, Well, I don't I don't need to go see anybody because I haven't been through a shooting or I haven't I haven't been in the military or, you know, And I think a lot of times we have a hard time getting people to understand how okay it is, too. Go talk to someone because it doesn't have to be a super big tragedy to have things that affect you mentally. And I would say you're definitely a big advocate of mental health,
absolutely, and I think that's one of the things we all want to be strong, and we all want to think that we have the tools to work through it. But there's there's things that I learned. I'll give you an example of something very simple that I. Simple as it is, I would not have part of it. So I woke up one night and I heard rifle fire outside of my door. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I woke up and everything in me, everything in my mind. That's Riel said, there's nobody suiting outside of your door, your spine blood. I didn't know how to tell myself that. Still, part of the trauma, a fact, your reasonable, rational mind and your subconscious mind, and getting those two to reconnect is something that has to happen in order for you to feel safe again. So, for example, I knew I wasn't being shot at, but my subconscious is going. Yeah, and remember how relaxed you were at that concert and you didn't think anybody was gonna suit you and what happened there, too, as simple as when I would wake up or I was going by a construction site and somebody was firing off and nail done. It was going up, up, up, up. And that started getting my heart racing to simply saying, whether out louder in my head, I said, I'm okay talking to me. You're okay. My subconscious mind That doesn't believe May.
we're okay. We're okay, right? Bringing most to back together. So simply with three deep breath saying I'm okay. You're okay. We're okay. By the time I was done, my heart rate went from racing and pounding out of my check, too. I couldn't even feel my heart beating in my chest anymore. Like it just the most amazing thing. And
that says something mean it's that. Is that
simple? But I never would have thought of that on my own.
that simple tool that he gave me made such a significant impact
in that. Yeah, I was quitting. Just get they could've got picked on its school. Or they could have been in the close call accident with their car. I mean, it doesn't you know, something so simple, and then all of a sudden, that creates a panic in them in the future, and yeah, I'm okay. Are you okay? We're okay, just you and
it's definitely it's It's when it still coming back and sticking with you that it's time to get help if you can't work through it in a reasonable time, and it's affecting your ability to think, to sleep, to function, to do things, it's worth seeking help. I think
absolutely so with you and Bruce after that. I mean, I can't do you. Do you think that that Do you think that incident that experience had anything to do with when you guys decided to retire?
We had always hoped to retire when I turned 50. Just because we both started young and we would have almost 30 years in the profession. And, you know, we have both. Through all the years I realized that, you know, we've seen enough things that we we both loved the careers that we had. We loved what we were able to do, but we both realized that the longer you do it, the harder it gets on you and, um so I think that made us even more grateful for the days that we have
and so getting to being able to do things that we don't want to do things that we we love. But we had a new adventure that we needed to do. We wanted to live in a different place. And we both believe we're mountain people at heart that ended up being raised and working in
But I've seen the lawnmower in the new tractor and you guys air You guys were well on your way to really, really being one with land up there for sure. You have a lot of amazing please. And so tell me last time I saw you though at well, it I saw you have a beautiful tattoo on your arm. A new tattoo. I'll tell me about the ideo.
I don't know if I can turn.
Oh, yeah, I could get appears. Yeah, yeah, that meaning. So you've got a vein in your arm and tell me the location for that. And,
um, Bruce and I, both four years have been talking about a fire tattoo, and we didn't want the typical fire helmet or flames or the same thing that everybody did. But there were years where people, the public and politicians primarily were pretty hard on us. A civil servant saying that we were overpaid and, you know, putting the city in the bankruptcy and really attacking firefighters, saying that we were the source of a lot of problems and not really giving us credit or what we were doing, too provide service and to take care of people. So one of the things need always said is, Get something on our forearm where when we reach out our arms to help someone, they would see this symbol. And so whether it was proud to serve our privilege to serve just so that we're doing this because it's what we love and we genuinely want to be there and it over time we wanted to have something where we could reach out our arm and someone would see that even though maybe we're being made a villain somehow in the public and political arenas that we really are coming into their homes with a good heart, truly wanting to be there to help them and to take care of them. And we realized that you know, we didn't want anything that was that direct fire department. When we retired, we wanted to have something that was more subtle. You know, we came up with the Phoenix, and it came partly after Vegas is when we came up with the idea, but kind of that trial by fire, you know, we've we've been through fire, were renewed by fire. We just had a lot of opportunities to grow and change and improve over the years. And I think Bruce and I have both become much better as people for what we've done for a living and all the people that we've been with and work with and help who have also helped us through that process.
Absolutely. I wish. I only wish I had met you sooner in my career. Really? Do I wish I wish I'd met you sooner because you're definitely someone that I mean, You are now still going on a mentor to me. But But, you know, women. We're always looking for other really strong women that that inspire us. And you're definitely one of those. And and I want to learn more about your relationship with Bruce too, because you guys definitely have something special. You know, last time I talked to you, you had to get going because there was an eagle swooping down to your pond i e. That I was gonna get your duckling. So your last has definitely changed from being in San Diego, and I in view, you're in such a beautiful place. And I'm so glad that you guys are on to the next chapter and I can see that you're gonna enjoy it, and we're gonna come see you soon.
Thank you. I'm looking forward to having you. And I feel the same way about you, Abby. You're so amazing. And everything that you're doing and using the challenges that you've gone through to help others is so admirable and so touching. So thank you for doing in what you're doing.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to meet Tricia and learn a little bit more about this firefighting woman. It means the world to both of us. I would love to hear your feedback on the podcast. Either is a review where you listen on her brother had social media, Orson, and email to Abby at her brotherhood dot com. If you know someone who would be a great addition to our brotherhood Podcast, please let me know. I would love to meet him now go forth and leave with fire