A bouncer whose actions are credited by many with saving lives during last month’s mass shooting in the Oregon District was honored Sunday.
At the Antioch Shrine in downtown Dayton, Ned Peppers bouncer Jeremy Ganger received an embroidered jacket with the city skyline on the back, along with the words “Dayton’s Protector,” written over the heart.
Ganger was a guest of honor at the event, which raised money to benefit victims of the shooting. Afterwards for WYSO News, Community Voices Producer Jason Reynolds spoke with Ganger about what his life has been like since the attack that killed nine people and left around three dozen others injured.
In security videos from the Aug. 4 Oregon District mass shooting, Ned Peppers' bouncer Jeremy Ganger can be seen rushing dozens of people into the bar.
Once they’re safely inside, Ganger blocks the door as the shooter tries to rush in.
"At that point and time, what was going through my head was, “I hope the cops get him before he gets me because I just stood there, waiting for him to try to get in. I was not going to let him in," he says. "I did not want him to come in there and hurt anyone else."
Despite his actions, Ganger is quick to deflect attention away from himself. He says the real heroes are the Dayton Police officers, who immobilized the shooter in less than a minute, and all of the employees from other bars on the block who rushed to help the wounded.
Ganger still bears scars from the event, both physical, from the shrapnel wounds he suffered, and mental.
"I don’t sleep very well. I don’t get much sleep," Ganger says. "Unfortunately, to be honest about it, I have bad dreams still every night but it is what it is. It will take time. It will take time to heal."
Ganger says watching how Dayton residents have pulled together since the shooting is helping him heal a little faster.