The Montgomery-Floyd Chapter of the American Red Cross continues to assist students, families and emergency workers today in the wake of a deadly school shooting at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Early Monday morning, reports indicate a student opened fire on the school’s campus, killing 32 others before turning the gun on himself, resulting in the deadliest school shooting in United States history.
Immediately following the incident, the Montgomery-Floyd Chapter, located in Blacksburg, mobilized more than 50 volunteers, many specializing in disaster mental health care. The chapter remained opened throughout the night as volunteers fielded phone calls and provided hot meals for the 200-300 rescue workers and police officers who remained on the scene.
Monday evening, chapter officials opened a student comfort center at a local hotel. American Red Cross mental health counselors were on hand to offer emotional and psychological support to students and families, something that continues to be of great concern in the wake of such a tragedy. The student comfort center has since been moved on campus to the Squires Student Center, where it will be accessible to even more students and faculty.
Several shooting victims were taken to area hospitals, all of which receive their blood supply from the Red Cross Appalachian Blood Region. Thanks to those who donate blood regularly, the Red Cross was able to meet the immediate needs of those being treated. The Appalachian Blood Region also received back-up support from many neighboring Red Cross blood regions, but no emergency requests for additional blood units have been received at this time.
Red Cross representatives were also on hand today at a convocation ceremony held by the university, where President Bush made remarks to honor the victims. American Red Cross mental health workers will continue to offer an outlet for students and family members to share their thoughts and feelings and begin the healing process.
The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.