Thursday, August 6, 2015

Letter from Southeast Tennessee Executive Director, Julia Wright - August 2015

On July 16th, 2015, the Chattanooga community experienced what most of us never thought possible.  The senseless act of violence that took the lives of five service members shocked and saddened our community, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed: Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and Petty Officer Second Class Randall Smith. We continue to pray for the speedy recovery of Chattanooga Police Officer Dennis Pedigo, who was injured in the attack. 

In the days that followed, our community came together like never before.  We visited memorial sites, attended funerals, lined up along the streets with flags, and held Chattanooga Strong signs in support.   Forty-four American Red Cross volunteers spent hundreds of hours providing food, water and snacks to support the military and law enforcement personnel at the Navy and Marine Corp Reserve Center as they worked tirelessly to gather evidence and clear the scene. Red Cross volunteers were also stationed at memorial sites as well as the Chattanooga National Cemetery providing hydration.  

We have received an outpouring of support from local partners providing water, sports drinks, ice, snacks, and meals.   Their generosity ensured we were able to provide over 1600 meals and 6300 water/snacks during the difficult days following the shooting.     

As I reflect over the past few weeks, I continue to be amazed by the work and commitment of our staff and volunteers. I have truly seen our mission of “alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors” in action, and am proud to be part of such an incredible team.  Thank you – to our staff, volunteers, partners and donors, for your continued support of our mission.

Julia Wright
Executive Director

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