Meadville Tribune

Local News

January 13, 2013

In aftermath of Sandy Hook, local rally planned

SANDY LAKE — St. John’s Grief Recovery and Other Workshops (GROW) of Meadville is seeking to collaborate with local agencies and professionals to rally for community safety and take preventative measures against potential tragedies like the Sandy Hook school shooting.

GROW Director Fran Stone hopes community members will attend the public rally which runs from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in the Crawford County Courthouse.

“How are folks dealing with this; how can we stop it from happening here?” she asks rhetorically. “This rally’s designed to have the entire county saying, ‘Let’s get together and think about these things.’ ”

While total prevention is unlikely, Stone believes efforts between school districts, police departments, medical centers and other organizations will elicit profound and proactive results in terms of avoidance.

“We can’t completely stop tragedies from happening, but all of us can make a difference,” said Stone.

During GROW’s first community planning meeting on Jan. 7, Stone met with several officials from Crawford Central schools, Meadville Police, Meadville Medical Center, Meadville Central Fire Department, Crawford County Drug and Alcohol, and many other organizations.

“We have gone into many different places with a message of recovery or hope for future generations,” Stone wrote in a meeting summary, explaining GROW’s overall standpoint. “So, when the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred, this is something that we felt compelled to bring to the table of discussion and help Meadville from two angles: prevention and response.”

GROW representatives chose Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the rally to promote proactivity and public communication. Stone anticipates roughly 100 attendees.

A tentative agenda includes opening remarks on the purpose of the event; two presentation segments on the rally’s themes; a question-and-answer session; lunch furnished by community donors; discussion sessions and a closing presentation.

Anticipated guest speakers include Bishop Stanley Smith, pastor of St. John Missionary Full Gospel Baptist Church; Dr. Humberto Dorta of Meadville Medical Center; the Rev. Cindy Kightlinger of Mercy House of Meadville; and Dr. Ken Wallace of Comprehensive Children and Family Services.

The community rally is expected to include a “mini-fair” type of outpouring from participating social service agencies and churches, according to Stone.

“A big thanks goes out to everyone who ventuerd forth to share with us,” she said. “These are uncharted waters and yo uhave encouraged us who want to help.”

n More information: Call St. John Missionary Full Gospel Baptist Church at 336-2965.

Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kfekos@meadvilletribune.com.

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