The City of Virginia Beach, like far too many communities before, has found itself confronted with the challenge of repairing the fabric of safety and trust that was ripped apart by the actions of one disturbed individual. It never fails to illustrate – in graphic, powerful clarity – how one person can unleash so much pain and devastation to countless innocent others in a workplace, a classroom, or a community. The senseless and random nature of such actions will always impact the lives of those connected, in ways that are profound, pervasive and permanent. But having just returned from providing service in Virginia Beach, I am reminded once again that despair is not the only response, and hate doesn’t get the final word. Care, compassion and courage were also clearly on display, in countless examples…from coworkers rallying to provide much needed support to a grieving widow…from leaders who gently walked alongside employees as they try to figure out what tomorrow looks like…from workers seeking the simple dignity of returning to work and providing excellent service to citizens desperately looking for some sense of normalcy during a chaotic time.
These and a thousand other examples remind us of the power one person can yield in response to tragedy, that inherent resilience that enables us to take a stand against the darkness today and dream of hope for tomorrow.
It is our humbling honor to join our voices with the rallying cry for Virginia Beach: ”Peace, Love and Honor…We are VB Strong”!