Harrisonburg Corps called to duty

Corps members serve at Virginia Tech campus.


The following is a reprint of portions of a story, “Salvation Army Acts at Tragedy’s Front Line,” by Dan Kipperman, from Harrisonburg’s Daily-News Record.

HARRISONBURG—After a devastating and deadly day at Virginia Tech, members of the Harrisonburg Salvation Army did their part to provide comfort for those in the midst of the nation’s deadliest shooting rampage.

Capt. Gregory Shannon and three other members of the local Salvation Army went to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to provide food and comfort during ceremonies Tuesday.

“It’s a privilege to be able to do this,” he said. “We’re glad to do whatever we can to help.”

Rockingham County residents Thadd Hicks, Matt VanDenberg and Ward Williamson joined Shannon on the trip.

The four Harrisonburg Salvation Army members provided hot food and drinks to those gathered at the afternoon convocation and a nighttime candlelight vigil.

What They’re Doing

Shannon said Harrisonburg’s Salvation Army contingent, and those from the Roanoke branch, also would provide spiritual support on the campus as needed.

Before departing for Blacksburg Tuesday morning, Williamson looked over the van filled with food and drinks.

“We’ve got a whole truckload of necessities,” he said. “Pretty much the basic things that people need. It’s good that we’re able to help.”

Once the group arrived at Virginia Tech, they stood by their van, handing out coffee, hot chocolate and bottles of water to those exiting the afternoon Convocation.

By late Tuesday afternoon, Shannon says, the group had handed out about 150 water bottles to those who were
standing outside.

“We’re trying to support them in any way we can,” he said.

How It Started

Although Shannon was glued to his television set on Monday, watching the tragic events unfold throughout the day, he didn’t know that he would be directly involved until Tuesday morning.

Capt. Richard White, of the Roanoke Salvation Army, requested Shannon’s presence early Tuesday morning, and
just hours later, he and three others were on their way to the devastated campus.
“It’s going to be a long day,” Shannon said before making his way to Blacksburg. “But it’s absolutely worth it.”
Dan Kipperman, Harrisonburg Daily-News Record

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