CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Wednesday marks one year since a Walmart employee took six co-workers’ lives inside a Chesapeake Walmart.
On Monday, there was a special remembrance lunch to honor the victims and give comfort to their families and friends.
It also started a conversation about the path forward of healing.
“The terror on that night extended way beyond the retail store,” said Deborah Wacker, founder and director of The Shepherd’s Shoulder.
She said these events cause a ripple effect and anyone touched by the tragedy is affected.
“So many families are still hurting,” said Mary Bibbs, executive director of Bibbs Firm. “Every day we hear something on the news. We are constantly traumatized. How do we move forward?”
Monday’s event, called Our Path Forward, allowed people to discuss ways to improve in the future.
“We know last year’s incidents the mass shooting could have happened anywhere at any time,” Bibbs said. The only way we are going to address these issues is if we come together, sit down and talk about what we can do together. … “It’s going to take mental health. It’s going to take education. It’s going to take human services. The one message is it is going to take all of us collectively,” Bibbs said.
Wacker said there are ways to cause a positive domino effect in the community.
“Compassion, caring and hope,” she said. “Those are the things we want to build upon as a team.”
There were talks about mental health after these tragedies.
Wacker said faster mental health care helps with post-incident healing.
“What we need to do, I believe, and Shepard’s Shoulder with our team believes we need disaster mental health and spiritual care coordinators at a city level,” she said.
A Sentara representative told the crowd what changes the hospital is looking at.
“We are really trying to address those social determinants of health,” the speaker said.
While this community is continuing the healing journey, Sentara made a donation for the Walmart mass shooting victims’ families.
“That entire check will go to the victims’ families,” Bibbs said. “… We will make sure it’s divided equally between the victims’ families.”
The $15,000 check is to help with hope and healing.