• Vigil shows support for families impacted in tragedy

    By: Torie Wells


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sometimes in life, there just aren't words to explain tragedy to children or to express concern to strangers.

    Pastor Brenda Stevenson, with New Outreach Ministries in Charlotte, says all she could do Friday night was lead her church in prayer and song for the victims of the Connecticut school shooting.

    "I feel like I have to do something to help them," she said.

    Friday night's service was partially to show support for those families and partially to try to help her own church cope.

    "We were affected by it because we care," Stevenson said.

    That is something that Robert Cook understands firsthand. He was a Sept. 11 first responder and says the longer time passes, the harder it could be for the first responders Friday to cope with what they saw.

    "When I responded during 9-11 we had each other," said Robert Cook. "It was the days, weeks, months and now years (following) that we have to look at how to be with each other."

    Cook is now an emergency management consultant. He says he sometimes works with schools on their safety plans. He says right now, parents and teachers have to have a tough conversation with children, especially young ones.

    "We have to educate our children that there are bad people out there; we have to run away from them but we can't live in fear," said Cook.

    Stevenson says she plans to reach out to religious leaders citywide to hold a moment of silence Sunday morning for the victims of the Connecticut school shooting.

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