Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts on Virginia Tech

The tragedy of Virginia Tech is most profound and has affected people nationwide. I received an email from a very dear friend of mine whom I have known for 25 years and who lives just a few miles from the university sent me an email, knowing that I (and the others on her list) would be concerned about what happened and whether she was affected. This is what she wrote me ( am not including her or any other name mentioned, since I have yet to get her permission):

"First of all, for those outside of SW Virginia, I and my family are fine. Thank you to those who have called about concerns.

To put things into a little perspective. While working at Tech, I drove by Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum (where today's convocation will occur) each time I needed to go to my "on campus office," which is near the West AJ Hall (the first shooting scene). It's a very centrally located main-drag kinda area. At the end of my pregnancy, our campus offices were moved to the other end of campus and technically on the outskirts. I had several clients from Norris Hall (the second shooting scene) and am familiar with it. The staging area that has been set up is at the new Inn at Virginia Tech. This hotel is a sister property for The Hotel Roanoke that I had my "real" office at. (Hotel Roanoke is partially owned by VT.) The general manager and Director of sales (now co-general manger of the Inn) are two wonderful men who I know will take care of all the media, parents, and student counseling areas necessary to begin the healing process. The Inn is the main "base" if you might call it for the department that I worked in, Continuing Education.

Today is maroon and orange day. Even the arch rival, University of Virginia, have asked their students and alumni to join in "marooning."

Our governor had just landed in Tokyo 6 hours prior to the first shooting and is on his way back to Blacksburg to join the convocation service. (that's 28 hours of traveling in less than two days). He was beginning a two week visit/tour for trade (one was a partnership with Japan and Virginia Tech) and visit Virginia Tech students in Asia.

As many media reports have accounted, this will have far reaching implications. Tech is such a large university in a very small town. You either attend Tech, have children attend tech, or you work there.

I've forwarded a text msg I received from one of our youth at church (##### those locally), that I received after I texted her to see about her boyfriend, #####, who is one of maybe two? CDL drivers for the Tech's ambulance. Not knowing if he was one of the victims or was dealing with the carnage, I checked in on her and this was she text back to me. Wow!"

The text message from her (about her boyfriend) that my friend included was very short, yet profound: "Oh. Its awful. He saw everything and is transporting dead bodies. He knew people he had to bag."

This is very sad. I want to get on my soap box about the decline of our culture, criticize gun control advocates who falsely make a case for more controls on what happened, and other political rants. I will save that for another day and simply ask others to do what I have chosen to focus on, which is the need to pray. For now, I believe all of us are the Hokies of Virginia Tech.



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