When Cole Swindell was in Las Vegas for his last show of 2017, he made a special visit to the Clark County Fire Department Station No. 18 to sing for firefighters; among them were first responders at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
On the final night of the sold-out October event, 58 people were killed, and 489 people were injured in what became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Moved by the firefighters’ hard work and sacrifice, Swindell got visibly emotional during his performance, but it was important to him to show his appreciation.
“These [folks] are the bravest of the brave,” he said. “They are running into danger, while everybody else is running away. Just to get to come by and play a couple songs, meet them and say thanks, it’s bigger than music sometimes.
“I don’t think we can fathom what it was like to be there unless we were there, and I just want them to know I appreciate them and that their work and sacrifice won’t go unnoticed.”
CMT Hot 20 Countdown‘s Cody Alan interviewed Swindell during his visit for the show’s year-end special, airing Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 30-31) at 9 a.m. ET.
The three-hour event will countdown the show’s top videos of the year and celebrate the holiday giving season with highlights from the Jake Owen Foundation Benefit Concert in Vero Beach, Florida, Josh Turner’s visit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Levi Hummon‘s visit at the Nashville nonprofit Thistle Farms and Michael Ray volunteering at the Nashville Humane Association.
Online donations to the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center will support anyone affected by the Route 91 shooting. The numbers to call to contribute by phone are 702-455-2433 and 1-833-299-2433.
Enjoy a photo preview of the Hot 20 special: