The man who saved two Wellington sisters from the Las Vegas shooter Sunday night is a soft-spoken Marine veteran who has become a hero to millions overnight.
Taylor Winston, a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran from San Diego, commandeered a pickup truck and ferried wounded concertgoers to a hospital moments after the shooting started. He made multiple trips, saving an estimated 20 to 30 people.
Two of them were Lauren and Lulu Farina, Wellington wedding planners who were in town for a conference. They came to Las Vegas a few days early to see the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Lauren had been in a wheelchair because of recent injuries but abandoned it moments after the shooting started.
As they scrambled to get away from the shooter, who rained rifle rounds from a 32nd-floor hotel window 400 yards away, the Farina sisters came across a white pickup truck loaded with wounded people.
A man who was carrying Lauren banged on the side of the truck. Winston, who was behind the wheel, stopped and told them to get inside.
Seeing Winston was a relief, “like having a warm blanket around you,” Lauren, 32, said.
While Lulu helped the wounded in the bed of the pickup, Lauren sat in the cab with Winston and helped him find his way to the hospital, impressed by his ability to focus as he drove.
“He was so calm and strong,” Lauren told The Post earlier this week. “He was driving 80 mph, he was running over curbs and he was running through red lights.”
But she felt amid the chaos of the worst shooting in modern U.S. history, in which 58 people were killed and 489 wounded, she never would see his face again.
But she would.
“I just saw it out of the corner of my eye and broke down crying, ‘That’s him, that’s him!’” she said.
On Wednesday, they reunited during a tearful meeting at a country music bar a couple of miles south of the Las Vegas Strip.
“So many more people are alive because of you,” Lauren said. “You saved so many families.”
“You guys are making it hard to hold it together,” he replied.
Winston, who attended the concert, said he was just reacting to the moment. When he first heard the gunshots, he paused. Then he heard a second round, saw singer Jason Aldean run off the stage and thought, “This is real,” he said.
He ran with his girlfriend, Jenn Lewis, 28, to an area of the festival grounds where he knew there were pickup trucks. Winston, a designer who used to be a roller coaster engineer, said he has worked at many music festivals and knows that work crews sometimes leave their keys in their trucks, so other members of the crew can use them.
He thought he would have to search a few trucks before getting lucky, but he found keys in the first truck he opened.
So he took it upon himself to go back in to the concert chaos, more than once, and ferry wounded people to the hospital.
When it ended, he left the truck in the parking lot outside the country bar — a spot he knew well, since he had done some interior design work there.
But it was promptly towed by the parking lot’s security. He didn’t blame them, he said. There was blood inside and outside the pickup.
The truck, he said he later found out, was owned by a local port-a-pottie business that provided toilets for the festival.
And proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Winston said the owner’s insurance company wants to go after him for the truck’s damages. He said his business partners and friends have offered to cover any charges he might be assessed.
As for why he’s doing so many interviews, he said he’s trying to send a positive message to the country at a time when the nation is so divided.
“I think everyone agrees it’s a good thing for America, to see reunion and hope,” he said.