WINCHESTER — A low-key ceremony Monday morning marked the third anniversary of the shootings at Umpqua Community College, which took nine lives on Oct. 1, 2015.
The Day of Remembrance attracted close to 200 people, including the victims’ family members, friends, students and other community members.
A memorial with nine colorful floral wreaths was set up in front of the administration building’s flagpole. The flag flew at half-staff in honor of those who died in the tragedy, including eight students and one professor.
Bagpipers from the Eugene Highlanders group played for about 15 minutes, and UCC President Debra Thatcher spoke to the crowd with words of encouragement.
“We want to pay tribute to the beloved individuals who were lost. We remember and honor the survivors with their great determination in adversity,” Thatcher said. “We are always inspired by the selfless acts of heroes.”
Thatcher read the names of each of those who died, which was followed by UCC student Juan Martinez ringing a bell after each person’s name: Lucero Alcaraz, Treven Anspach, Rebecka Ann Carnes, Quinn Cooper, Kim Dietz, Lucas Eibel, Jason Johnson, Sarena Moore and Lawrence Levine.
Justin and Kim Anspach, the parents of Treven Anspach, who died while saving a classmate, attended the remembrance for the first time since the shooting.
“For me, it was just a little awkward working with all the guys that were here that day,” Justin Anspach said. “It’s been a challenge just to continue on and do what I do, and the struggles with family, to make sure everybody is balanced and getting all the help they can.”
Anspach said it is nice to get together with the others who were closely affected.
“That means a lot to us and it’s nice to get together for a few minutes and reminisce,” Anspach said. “My wife and I are getting some good help from other family members.”
Several first responders and law enforcement members were also at the event.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said it’s important that we never forget the nine innocent lives that were lost.
“But it’s equally as important that we don’t forget this day so that we don’t let it define who we are and who we’ve become,” Hanlin said.
Lt. Steve Mitchell, the Roseburg Area Commander of the Oregon State Police said a couple of troopers that responded to the shooting retired soon after. He all phases of first responders were affected.
“In the weeks after (the shooting), OSP deployed their Critical Incident Response Team which did debriefs at the fairgrounds that were open to law enforcement at first, then the paramedics, firemen and they actually opened them to the spouses of first responders, because that’s a whole other wave of emotions,” Mitchell said.
Thatcher said the college wanted a discreet and private event that is not sensationalized.
“I think that’s what this does, we truly want to remember people, respect people and bring people together in a way that’s healing and doesn’t divide anymore, and I think that’s what this does,” Thatcher said. “We want to promote the love that we have for the people that were lost.”