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Community benefit to help survivor of East Missoula convenience store shooting

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Nov 14 2012 08:53:13 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 14 2012 08:59:22 PM MST
EAST MISSOULA, Mont. -

For the first time since he was shot, the Ole's convenience store clerk talks to the media.

It's been a long row for young Adam Gallegos.

This Sunday, there's a community benefit for the 21-year-old.

Adam Gallegos lost a lot of blood in the early morning hours of September 7th.

Conscious, bleeding and alone in the store after the shooter left, he made it next door to a casino and help.

He lost a lung. He had a stroke. But he lived.

"Take it day by day," said Gallegos, "mile by mile. Step by step."

Gallegos is recovering. But it's a slow process. Medical expenses are huge.

He said the shooting left its mark on his whole family. It's a big extended one.

"I never knew how much life meant to people until I was in that boat myself," he said, "and scared."

Adam became friends with the crime's investigator, Detective Sgt. T.J. McDermott from the Missoula Sheriff's Department, and its Chaplain Chuck Lee.

"He's going to have some serious challenges," said McDermott,"and that's why we wanted to put on a benefit."

Adam's long range plans were to get a job in the profession he learned in trade school. He's a welder. Welders need good lung capacity.

"My welding career," said Gallegos, is "down the drain."

Adam's considering becoming a gunsmith, a truck driver, a heavy equipment operator, even a nurse. But first, he has to get better.

"He has the tools and the family strength to get through this," said Chaplain Lee.

Adam said since the shooting, he's afraid to be alone. He's trying to overcome that. He has a lot of friends.

"If Adam thought you needed his shirt more than he needed it," said his aunt Kim Gallegos, "he'd take it off and give it to you."

Donations can be made in Adam Gallegos's name at the Missoula Federal Credit Union.

The benefit dinner is Sunday, at the East Missoula Fire Hall at 7 p.m.

The Missoula County Deputy Sheriff's Association is sponsoring the event, with financial support from Neptune Aviation.

Two men are accused in connection with the Ole's Country Store shooting.

Christopher Burch is accused of pulling the trigger. Preston Hanna is accused of driving a getaway car. Their cases are pending.