From: Jerry Waybrant, Acting Director
Caring about people and supporting them in difficult circumstances is what we do best. Since the tragic shooting at Umqua Community College (UCC) in Roseburg last week, we’ve seen that caring reach even greater levels as DHS staff across the state wrapped support around our colleagues in Roseburg. Thank you for being quick to act to help our staff and the people we serve across Oregon with direct ties to Roseburg.
A few days of distance from the event doesn’t ease the shock but it does give us space to begin our healing. Roseburg is my home and the place I started my DHS career 30 years ago. It was important to me to be there. Last Thursday I joined many of our staff at the community’s candlelight vigil and on Friday, I visited the local DHS offices.
As you would expect, our staff are stunned by what happened but they are resilient. They are focused on how their community can emerge from the tragedy in a way that moves Roseburg from being defined as a place where a terrible school shooting took place, to being a community defined by how it responded and recovered. They have asked all of us to do two things in that spirit:
- To double down on our efforts to engage the individuals and families we serve in our programs to help them be safe, connected and contributing members of our local communities.
There also are several simple ways you can show your support for UCC, our local staff and the Roseburg community:
- Participate in a national moment of silence today at 11 a.m.
- Send a note of support from you or your team to our local DHS offices in Roseburg.
- Join DHS in the social media campaign growing on Twitter called #iamUCC by posting from your personal account.
If you would like to make a personal contribution to UCC or the victims, you can check the UCC website at www.umpqua.edu for recommendations.
A tragedy like this truly sends shockwaves across the state and affects everyone to some degree. Please remember that if you or a family member needs support, you can access our Employee Assistance Program by calling 1-800-433-2320. It’s a free and confidential service. On a normal day, our work is tough enough and I want to encourage everyone to take care of themselves so we are able to take care of others as we move through the grieving process.
Gov. Kate Brown travelled to Roseburg last Thursday after the shooting, spending the late afternoon and evening providing direct support to community members. She continues to be actively engaged in working with us to meet the needs of victims and their families.
Our daily work provides constant reminders that times of great adversity can bring great opportunity for individuals, families and communities. Channeling the emotion and energy this tragedy brought out into something positive honors the wishes of our colleagues in Roseburg and celebrates the lives of the victims. Please continue rising above the rhetoric and reaching out to those who can be our partners in positive change.
I look forward to hearing your ideas for how we can learn from this experience to better meet our goals of safety, health and independence for all Oregonians.
Thank you for all you do.