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June 23, 2017

When Lives Disrupted by Violence, Emergency Workers Serve at Point of Need

Responses in Alexandria, VA, San Francisco, CA, and London counter tragedy through community.

Serving first responders after attack on Congress members in Alexandria, VA.

AFTER SHOOTING OF CONGRESS MEMBERS IN ALEXANDRIA, VA, THE COMMUNITY REACTED TO GET IT RIGHT

When the shooting at the congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia took place June 14, the area was locked down quickly. But as one Salvation Army emergency responder from National Headquarters approached with a red vest and white hat, both bearing a Red Shield with the words The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, he was waved through.

David had been deployed to North and South Carolina during Hurricane Matthew in October, 2016. “My job was to talk to people and tell the story of those affected by the storm and of The Salvation Army working to help them,” he said. “Yesterday was different, though. Everyone coming for food was a first responder. I handed out water and Gatorade. I served food from a canteen (mobile feeding truck, and a first for me). I chatted with FBI agents (another first for me). I thanked FBI agents, praised them, fed them, and then I watched them get back to work.”

The food was provided by local restaurants from around town‑barbeque sandwiches, salads, wings, jambalaya, pizza, and more, were donated by the community. “At a time when tensions are high and social media conversation is nothing short of explosive, a community was coming together to serve those trying to figure it out and set it right.”

David was also humbled by the appreciation expressed by the first responders. “It was never a simple ‘Thank you.’ It was always accompanied by a ‘ …so much for being here” or ‘…for everything you guys do. I mean it.’

“I realized that is what it’s like every time The Salvation Army responds to an emergency. It’s with the same passion and support, whether it’s in Alexandria, Dallas or Peru or Nepal, whether the news media is there or not. Our first responders deserve it, so we’re there, whenever there’s a need.

“There’s real power in service. First responders get that. They’ve dedicated their careers and lives to serving, and it’s a real honor to have the opportunity to serve them back in some small way. I highly recommend, if the chance ever comes your way, that you take it. I have yet to regret a time when I did.” 

AND IN SAN FRANCISCO, ARMY SUPPORTS FIRST RESPONDERS AFTER gunman attack

An Emergency and Disaster Services (EDS) team provided food and hydration for police officers when a gunman killed four people at a UPS building in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco earlier this month.

“When the call came in requesting The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services to help, we acted immediately,” said John McKnight, area Emergency Services director. Within minutes, The Salvation Army established a food/hydration canteen nearby.

“We are privileged to be able to be able to serve,” McKnight said.

ARMY IN LONDON OFFERS SHELTER THE NIGHT OF TERRORIST ATTACK IN MANCHESTER, LONDON

It was 11 p.m. on that Saturday night in May when the Salvation Army's Southwark Community Church near the attack site in Manchester decided to open its doors to offer a place of safety.

Tourists had nowhere to sleep because hotels were in lockdown Or they had no mobile phone battery left to call relatives back home and say they were okay. Or they were police and ambulance workers simply needing a cup of tea.

The Army helped people charge phones and call family and taxis, and offered the on-duty police officers a place to rest and use facilities.

Some people who sought refuge ended up staying the night. There was nowhere else to go.

Captain Ashish Pawar, church leader, said  “Being so close to the scene, we just wanted to do something to help so we opened up our church and community center at 11pm. Around 25 police officers came for refreshments, seven people slept here, including people who were not able to go back to their hotels, and a number of others just needed to have a hot drink, chat and charge their phones so they could call family and friends.'

'It was a real privilege and a blessing to be able to serve them in this atmosphere.'

Find out about volunteering at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org

Video: Southwark Salvation Army provides support to the Emergency Services and the public during London Bridge attack on Saturday, 3rd June. 

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