An act of violence at a holiday party has changed the lives of a young Brownwood couple. Alex Elizondo, 20, a 2011 graduate of Brownwood High School was attending a July 4 party in south Brownwood that ended in a life-saving surgery.

“I was hanging out with my friends,” Elizondo said. “I don’t remember everything that happened.”

At some point during the party, two other men arrived, Elizondo said. “Everyone knew one of the guys, but only a few knew the other one.” According to Elizondo, one of the men became belligerent with another party goer. “I remember someone saying ‘that guy needs to leave’ because he was starting problems with one of my buddies.”

Roughly 45 minutes later, the two men returned and the situation escalated. “One of my friends said ‘Hey, that kid is back’ and so I went over to tell him again that he needed to leave because of the problems he was starting. I don’t remember much after that.”

Although there is a gap in his recollection of the event, Elizondo does know that he was stabbed, at least twice, with a deer gutting knife.

Alicia Castillo, 20, also a 2011 BHS graduate, and Elizondo’s fiancee said she received a phone call while at work at about 2 a.m. July 5. “The girlfriend of one of the guys at the party called me and said ‘You gotta get to the hospital. Alex has been stabbed’ and he is on his way to the hospital,” Castillo said. “I was confused by what was going on. I didn’t know if that meant there was an accident at the party or what was actually going on. All I knew was that Alex was in a friend’s truck and being taken to the hospital.”

Clarity of the situation became apparent when Castillo arrived at Brownwood Regional Medical Center. “I saw blood on the street, blood on the grass,” Castillo said. “It was a lot of blood.”

Castillo, an LVN at Oak Ridge Manor, said she struggled to stay calm. “I tried to click into ‘nurse mode,’ but it is very hard when it is someone that you love. I love my patients, but this was just different. We have been together for seven years. He is my best friend. We grew up together.”

The emergency surgery was to repair a severed artery he sustained near his left arm. “The blade was 10 centimeters into his arm pit and a few inches from his heart,” Castillo said. Elizondo was also stabbed in the right bicep. Forty-three staples were inserted between both wound sites, Castillo said.

Medical staff at BRMC were amazed by Elizondo’s recovery, Castillo said. “One of the nurses said she was shocked that he survived with the amount of blood that he lost. One of my patients told me there were an extra set of hands working on him while he was having surgery.”

Thankful for “everything they did,” Castillo praised the staff at BRMC. “The team that was working that night was great. I just appreciate everything they did.”

Elizondo and Castillo are now adjusting to a different lifestyle. Because of the injuries and required rehabilitation, Elizondo is currently unable to continue working in the oilfield, which has been a source of contention. “It is miserable being stuck in the house,” Elizondo said. “I am grateful to be alive, but it is miserable.”

Castillo ensures her fiancee’s is taken care of, which can be challenging emotionally. “He has always been a very independent person,” Castillo said. “It is hard on him when I have to help him with things. Since he only has use of his right arm, there are a lot of things that he cannot do right now.”

Medical bills are a concern. “We applied for some assistance, but we don’t know if we will be approved,” Castillo said. “We were told that if we were approved, it may only cover the actual surgery itself, and he was in the hospital for a week.”

“We had been saving money,” Elizondo said. “That has helped, but we are now having to tap into our wedding fund.” Elizondo will undergo surgeries in the future to repair nerve damage.

Despite the situation at hand, the couple has continued to work together and Elizondo says that “no matter what,” he will marry Castillo in January 2014.