EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Cynthia Loya was getting ready for a trip to Albuquerque with her family on the morning of August 3, 2019, when they made a stop at the Cielo Vista Walmart to take cash out from an ATM.

But then she noticed something felt wrong.

“It was really quiet which was odd and that’s when we saw people injured on the floor needing help,” Loya said.

That day, a lone suspected gunman opened fire at the busy Walmart in El Paso, ultimately killing 23 people and injuring many more.

Loya is a longtime emergency medical technician with the group ProAction. She said it was her instinct to jump in and help people.

“I felt like I was meant to be there,” Loya said.

She said she immediately started assessing the situation and the injuries.

“The first assessment was to see who can respond to me, who is moving around who is no longer moving,” Loya said.

She said she did not have much besides shopping carts and toilet paper or napkins from people’s groceries. She was working alongside other first responders helping treat people, using carts to quickly get people to an ambulance.

“My training helped me to react the appropriate way in that dire time to manage things professionally,” Loya said.

She said her training with Pro Action helped her react in that moment to quickly do what needed to be done to try and save people.

“I remember telling people around me to help and check on people, there were like 5-7 victims in that area,” Loya said.

Loya now teaches EMT courses with ProAction and uses her experience as a health and safety professional.

“There was a situation in front of me, there was no question but to run towards them, no question to render aid,” Loya said.

She said she still follows some of the people she helped that day on social media, keeping a distance, but happy to see how they’re doing and she thinks about them daily.

“There’s nothing that I drive by or maybe something that comes to mind that brings that up I learned to live and accept it, it’s a badge of honor to help out my El Pasoans,” Loya said.

Loya encourages those who want to help people to become an EMT. To learn more about her story and how to become a first responder, visit ProAction’s website HERE.

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