April 16th is a date that is etched in many of our minds. Last year at this time, we were packing to go to DisneyWorld when we turned on the news and saw what was happening at Virginia Tech. We live about an hour away and it was a surreal experience watching the events unfold. Both Jennifer and I graduated from Tech, and we still visit often, so it was tough to watch as we realized that many students and professors had lost their lives. I had several engineering classes in Norris Hall and knew that area of campus well. We had a number of former youth students at Tech and we were texting, calling, and emailing all day to make sure they were all safe. In the days that followed, it seemed like everyone we knew at Tech was connected to the tragedy in some way.
- One of our former students lost his best friend and roommate Jarrett Lane in the shooting. Many of our other students were close friends as well.
- Two of our former students were two doors down from the initial shooting in the dormitory. They knew both students who were killed in the dorm
- My sister-in-law and her husband were close to Professor Liviu Librescu that was killed while protecting his students. They are good friends with his son.
- The Baptist Student Union that I was active in while at Tech lost one of their students, Brian Bluhm
- Almost all of the students we know lost a classmate or someone they knew
I know the campus and community doesn’t want national attention. One of the things I love about Blacksburg is that the community is very close-knit. The town and college are inseparable. When you have a town that has a total population of 40,000 with 25,000 students, you know that everything in town is connected to Tech. Please keep the students and University and town in your prayers. The tragedy has opened many doors for ministry, but there is still much healing that needs to take place.