The tragedy at Umpqua Community College struck the hearts of people from all over the world, and it didn’t take long for support to come pouring in.
There were many heartwarming stories about all the donations that came to the community to support the victims and their families, and there were a lot more stories about people that just wanted the community to know their support was with them.
UCC Board Chair Vanessa Becker said there was a real sense of everybody being in this together and people identified with UCC, sending love, prayers and good thoughts.
“The focus of the world was really turned to us quickly, “ said Becker, “and it stayed on us a lot longer than I anticipated.”
Becker said they had an abundance of not just money donations, but a lot of items like teddy bears, love rocks, cards, banners and a lot of food.
“Some of the more moving ones were videos and photos that other campuses were sending, from all over the nation and academic institutions all over the world,” said Becker.
Roseburg High School, which sends dozens of students to UCC each year, was also overwhelmed with support from outside the community.
“One thing that really stuck out to me was a poster we got from Columbine High School,” said Principal Jill Weber, “and even though it wasn’t our school where it occurred, they sent it to show us they were thinking about us and hundreds of students signed the poster. It was touching.”
Nowhere was the support more evident than in the athletic world.
The Oregon and Oregon State football teams worked together to create a ribbon that was put on the helmets of teams from both schools and prominently displayed in the middle of the football fields, and even some of the other teams in the Pac-12 wore the ribbon on their uniforms.
Craig Pintens, a Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Oregon, said being so close to Roseburg and having many students from the area, they wanted to support the community as much as they could.
“We were fortunate that we worked together with Oregon State with the same kind of ribbon, unified with our support. Obviously, a tragedy like that is going to get national attention, but we also wanted to remind people that everybody in the state of Oregon supports the Umpqua Valley and Roseburg,” said Pintens.
The entire UO women’s soccer team is planning to come to Roseburg today, and volunteer at the Umpqua Strong 9K and 5K run/walk at Stewart Park.
At Oregon State University, its sports teams and the administration also got involved in supporting the hurting community. Steve Clark, the vice-president of University Relations and Marketing at OSU, said immediate outreach was provided by President Ed Ray, offering whatever support the university could supply. Clark said the financial aid office worked to help students impacted by the incident, and several other offices at the university reached out to students from Douglas County to provide care and needed support in the aftermath.
Umpqua women’s basketball coach, Dave Stricklin, found out how far reaching the story was when he ordered some items for his team from South Carolina, where they were dealing with some major flooding.
“The guy recognized the name right away, and they’d just gone through some flooding,” Stricklin said. “He had lost close to half a million dollars in inventory plus it flooded his offices and warehouse. When I called, he said, ‘you guys have it worse off than we do.’ Not only did he donate the ID tags but he also made name tags for their lockers, and he said it was something he wanted to do for us and wished he could do more.”
Stricklin got a tremendous number of calls and emails from people from all over the country, and the world, and most were from people who just wanted to reach out and say they were sorry.
“I heard from coaches from all over the country, and I even got a text from somebody in England,” said Stricklin.
Sutherlin High School felt the pain as much as anyone after one of their former star athletes, Treven Anspach, who was also a member of the UCC men’s basketball team, died in the shooting.
Sutherlin Athletic Director Josh Grotting said the support was heartwarming.
“To see the athletic community, coaches and athletic directors offer support was really amazing,” said Grotting. “I couldn’t possibly begin to list the number of calls, emails, and letters that I received. It is something I will not soon forget.”
During the high school basketball season, the booster club at Sweet Home High School, one of Sutherlin’s league opponents, donated all its receipts from the games, when Sutherlin boys and girls played at the school, to Sutherlin High School to use for the Treven Anspach fund.
Jim Hagel, a member of the Sweet Home Booster Club, said the night his teams came to Sutherlin, they were moved by the tribute to Anspach and wanted to do something to help.
“It was small town to small town,” said Hagel. “We’ve never had a tragedy like that here, but it could be Sweet Home, so it was really a community thing. I’d like to do the same thing this year,” Hagel said.