Chardon 1 Year Later: Reflections of a reporter

4:19 AM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- I vividly remember that morning of February 27, 2012.

I was getting ready to heat up some food in the microwave when we heard over police scanners that there was a shooting at Chardon High School.

Immediately, Videographer Shane Snider and I got into a live truck and started driving down I-90 East.  

We prayed that this was only a drill but, as we drove closer, I saw a LifeFlight helicopter. I knew it wasn't just a safety exercise. The next 10 hours were intense and emotional as we learned what happened.

I spoke with parents, families, children, school officials, law enforcement. Through it all, what struck me most was the overwhelming sense of cooperation and "community."

No doubt, this was the scariest experience most of us had been through, but everyone was going through it together. There was almost a strange sense of calm at the school district building- people were, for the most part, patiently waiting for answers. It was if everyone understood that shouting and panicking wouldn't help.

I also felt love.

I watched parents tearfully reunite with children, grandparents hug their grandchildren. I saw strangers reaching out to comfort strangers. It was incredible.

For more than a week following the shooting, I spent every day in Chardon. I was often overcome with emotion -- sadness, yes, but it was more than that. I felt pride and hope.

Day after day, I saw countless acts of kindness. The people of Chardon came together, and beyond that, Northeast Ohio came together -- literally.

During the vigils, the community walks, people walked hand in hand. I personally received emails from other states and countries -yes, countries -- asking how the families affected that day were doing and if there was anything they could do to help.

It reassured me that in this day and age of technology, of separation, we CAN and DO come together when it's needed the most.

As the months have passed, that sense of community remains, and it is that deep sense of connection that I take away from that day and choose to remember.


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