The Main Stream

Jan 6, 2012 9:17 AM

Triumph Over Tragedy: Unbreakable bond

TUCSON - The morning of January 8th, two strangers forged an unbreakable bond.

Nancy Bowman, an off-duty nurse and Vickie Stubbs, an accountant.

When shots rang out, Nancy's husband ran toward the scene and the women were drawn together.

Vickie was in the Safeway, looking for bird food. Nancy was there, in search of brussel sprouts.

Nancy remembers the moment when she, first, heard the shots.

"That sound... that bang, bang, bang, bang was the furthest thing from my mind that it was gunshots. It had to be a car backfiring," Nancy thought.

She looked around and her husband, Dr. David Bowman was already gone.

Vickie was there.

Vickie remembered Nancy saying "'I'm a nurse. I can help.'"

She said to Nancy, "let's go."

For the next 10-minutes or so, they worked together on Judge John Roll.

Nancy says, "I'm sure I was probably shouting orders to various people, and I know my husband was directing everyone to where they needed to be... and who's hand needed to be where."

Vickie didn't feeling like she was being ordered around at all. She felt like Nancy was leading her, saying "She made me feel like I could do it. That it was okay. That there was something to do... and that it would be helpful."

For what seemed an eternity, they tried to save Judge John Roll, taking turns with CPR.

Nancy remembers no chaos, just the sounds of people taking care of other people.

Eventually, Nancy and Vickie split up and lost sight of each other. They didn't reconnect until Judge Roll's funeral, six days later.

Nancy recalls looking up and thinking "'I know exactly who you are.'"

Since that day, they've made a point to get together for dinners. They try not to talk too much about the shooting, but will never forget it.

Vickie says, "Nancy is an angel. She was meant to be there that day to save people."

Nancy says, "There were a lot of people on the periphery who were just spectators and Vickie just said 'tell me what to do. I'll do it.' So, I have a lot of admiration for (her.)"

To make a difference, since January 8th, Nancy has focused on gun regulation, and helping the mentally ill.

Vickie tells people, every day, to live in the moment.

You don't know when it's going to change.

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