While a nation recovers from one of the worst mass shootings in United States history, stories of bravery and compassion are emerging.
A young Marine named Brendan Kelley saved the life of a girl he had only just met in this incredible story of selfless heroism befitting the USMC’s motto “Semper Fidelis,” always faithful.
Renee Cesario shared her story on Facebook where it quickly went viral,
“Brendan and I met only 2 hours before the Jason Aldean show. I left my friends so we could go up super close to the front for the end of the night. We were just dancing and having fun and then all of the sudden there were loud noises that sounded like fireworks, but no lights were going off.
It stopped, and Jason Aldean kept playing but then the shots fired again and he ran off the stage. Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire.
It stopped again and he looked around to see what was happening and then it just kept going. He looked at me and said ‘We have to get out of here. We can’t stay here. It’s not safe.’ Then he pulled my arm up to get me out of the piles of people.
We had no idea who was dead or who was alive. We just started to run. He kept telling me it was going to be okay and to keep running until we were safe. He even let me use his phone to stay in touch with my sister so she knew I was safe, which is the text you’ll see.
The whole night he didn’t leave my side.”
Renee’s sister Jenn sent Brendan a text thanking him for saving her sister. “That’s what we do,” Brendan replied.
The story immediately went viral as people around the globe searched for a ray of hope among the sorrow.
“I was praying for God to place angels all around you so you could come home safely to me, your sister, Josh, Kobes and our whole family. He answered my prayers and sent this handsome Marine to protect you, shielding your body from any bullets, an angel who was willing to give his life so you could live yours,” wrote Renee’s mother, Lynne Cesario, in a Facebook comment. “For this I will forever be grateful to him. I love you and I love him for his selfless act of heroism! God’s blessings to him always! I look forward to meeting Brendan face to face to show how grateful I am.”
Readers everywhere expressed similar words of gratitude and many hoped for a romantic relationship between Brendan and Renee. More than one wedding photographer offered their services for free should they be needed. “I’m a wedding photographer and my husband served 6 years in the marine corps,” wrote Danielle Manuel Brougher of Elan Photography. “If this does turn into a happily ever after I will shoot the wedding for free!!! Thank you Marine!”
While no one can bring back those lives that were taken too soon, we can all take solace knowing at least one life was spared thanks to the bravery of a United States Marine.
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