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Love, hope, courage in the midst of tragedy…

Love, hope, courage in the midst of tragedy…

In the aftermath of the shootings and deaths at Chardon High School The Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, many have gone beyond themselves to reach out to others:

[Father Dan Redmond, Church of St. Mary in Chardon] offered these words of consolation: “There’s a temptation to say the right thing. There is no right thing. Simply be there for them. Remind them God loves them. Try not to explain why it happened. There’s no way to explain it.”

To anyone who asks the question, “Where was God?” the answer is everywhere in Chardon.

It’s in the people who risked their lives to protect others, in the first responders, the deputies, police and rescue workers who ran to the school.

It’s in assistant football coach Frank Hall, who chased the gunman out of the school, as if his love for the students made him bulletproof. The coach corrected those who called him a hero. He said he was “just a football coach and a study hall teacher.” He was so much more to the wounded whose tears he wiped away as he prayed with them.

It’s in teachers like Joseph Ricci, who pulled Nickolas away from the gunfire that struck the boy in the neck, arm and back.

It’s in students like Nate Mueller, who had the grace to talk to reporters minutes after the shooting. A bullet left a skid mark on his ear. He told a TV reporter, “Just pray, hope for us and don’t let it happen again.”

It’s in the parents who donated their children’s organs so others could live. Up to eight lives can be saved with the organs donated from just one life. Demetrius was a weightlifter who saw his body as a temple. He passed on that most sacred gift of life. So did Russell King Jr. The strong boy with the big heart will live on in others


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Kudos to Fr. Redmond for a truly loving response. Real compassion often requires an acknowledgement that we don’t know how or why bad things happen. All we can do is offer what comfort we can and be there for those who are suffering.

Eric Bonetti

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