Jessica Milam 2018

Jessica Milam, seen here sporting a “Vegas Strong” shirt, said she doesn’t want the tragic events of that night to define her life. Milam was shot but survived.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

When the bullets started flying at a 2017 country music festival, a CDCR employee’s daughter was seriously injured. Since that day, CDCR Construction Supervisor II Ed Milam said he has a newfound sense of how quickly life can change.

Jessica Milam is a Disneyland cast member.

On Oct. 1, he received a phone call with news no parent wants to hear – his daughter Jessica had been gravely injured during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. In all, 58 people lost their lives that day and hundreds more were injured. She had been shot in the abdomen, damaging her liver and kidneys. She was hospitalized for more than a month.

Milam started his CDCR career in 1996 and works under CDCR Facilities Planning, Construction and Management.

While the physical wounds have healed, Jessica was traumatized by the horrific events of that night. (Read the original story.)

“She still experiences some pain at times but is for the most part physically recovered,” he said. “There is some sensitivity to fireworks and crowds but she is handling it well and has gotten out to a few concerts recently. … Jessica does have some ongoing issues dealing with the emotions of the event and what transpired but she seems to be handling it with a great deal of strength and resolve.”

Jessica has since returned to work as a cast member at Disneyland. Ed said he’s grateful for all the help his family received.

“There was a great amount of support from our workplaces, medical and mental health resources and the community we live in,” he said. “(She) lives with the determination that it not change who she is or dictate her path in any negative way.”

He said the tragedy was a teaching moment for his family.

“I was reminded that there is always a better resolution through the process of doing things the right way as opposed to reacting to the moment and it was great to be able to share this in practice with Jessica and be fortunate enough to have been blessed with and achieve such a miraculous result,” he said. “It brought about the reality what we all realize – that life as we know it can be altered in an instant.”

Jessica Milam at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas in 2017. She was injured in the mass shooting.