DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A year ago, the thought of never seeing Nicholas Cumer walk through her office doors again was something Karen Wonders hadn’t quite processed yet.
He was completing his Masters degree in Exercise Physiology, working as an intern for Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.
“Nick really went above and beyond all of the expectations that we had,” said Wonders, who owns Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.
She said patients loved him, and he knew how to be the support system cancer patients need.
“That’s what he was really good at, was providing that hope and being the light and being that encouragement,” Wonders said.
Cumer was offered a permanent position just last week.
“One of his patients he was supposed to work with tomorrow, he had texted her, ‘I can’t wait to see you tomorrow because I’ve got some really exciting news.’”
Tragically, he will never get to share that news.
Wonders was out of town when she heard about the mass shooting.
“I got a call from one of our trainers and as soon as I saw her call me, I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Cumer was with three others from the Cancer Alliance. Two of them were shot, but are recovering.
Wonders hopes he’ll be remembered as someone who dedicated his life to serving.
“I think that that is so telling of his character and his heart,” she said.
Wonders is calling the third trainer who was out with the group a hero, saying he dropped to the floor and covered his girlfriend with his own body, protecting her and shielding her. They both got away unscathed.
Katie Vitez was close friends with Cumer and a year ago was still trying to understand that he was gone.
“I really didn’t believe it at first and then it just hit me, the reality of it, and it’s still…I don’t even know if I’ve processed it fully yet,” she said.