Franklin woman says cousin ‘paid ultimate sacrifice’ in Las Vegas

Heather Alvarado (Courtesy: Chantel Ortega)

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A director at a Franklin gym is now raising money for her family affected by the massacre in Las Vegas.

Chantel Ortega told News 2 her cousin– Heather Alvarado–died shielding her 14-year-old daughter from gunfire last Sunday.

The two were with other family member’s at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, watching Jason Aldean perform, when a gunman opened fire on the entire crowd, killing 58 innocent people and injuring nearly 500 more.

“When the gunfire started, they tried to look for cover and there wasn’t a ton of cover to take, so she had to protect her daughter the best way she knew how, so she jumped on top of her to protect her, and she did just that,” Ortega said.

Chantel Ortega (Photo: WKRN)

“She paid the ultimate sacrifice. She lived out what every parent would desire to do for their child, or how people will say ‘I will protect you with my life.’ That was her story. That is the legacy she is leaving behind,” she continued.

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Ortega works as the pre-recreational director at the Let It Shine Gymnasium in Franklin.

She says they’ve been “really sweet and kind” to allow her to use that platform to raise money for the Alvarado family.

The gym will be collecting money through the entire month of October. They will write a check at the end of the month to give to the family.

(Photo: WKRN)

“All the proceeds will go directly to the family to help. No amount of money is ever going to bring her back, but it can help with the costs that are unforeseen that no one ever really saves for, especially at such a young age,” she told News 2.

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Ortega said Alvarado was just 35 years old and left behind her husband and their three children—the 14-year-old daughter who was her, a 9-year-old, and a 4-year-old.

“She was just the most incredible mother: silly, sarcastic, funny and loving, really an incredible human,” she told News 2. “The world is really a sadder place without her in it. She loved her husband more than anything and protected their family until the end of the line.”

A GoFundMe was also set up to help the Alvarado family. Click here to donate.