Town of Blacksburg Struggles with GriefSuzanne Higgs and Tricia Sangalang
News Staff Writer
April 16, 2007
Many shops and business closed down today due to the shootings on campus, like Hokie House, Hokie Hair, and other business along Main St.
But Sharkey’s Bar and Grill chose to stay open in order to help the community. At 10 a.m. Sharkey’s owner Stephanie Rogol said she heard someone on a bull horn warning people to stay inside. Originally she thought it was a tornado warning because of the windy weather, but soon realized it was much worse.
She still opened to show support for the community “Some people think its rude to be open, I think it be rude to be closed,” said Rogol. “To think that we’re just a business, that we aren’t part of the community, to not be here to help each otherâ€¦”
All proceeds from today’s sales will go toward whatever fund is set up for the victims. “Anybody that’s upset we’re here for them,” said Rogol.
The mood in the bar was solemn with very few smiles in between. Lindsey Davidson, a sophomore business information and technology major went to Sharkey’s with a group of friends to get food because they hadn’t been outside of her dorm. “Its unbelievable. Everything that’s happened this year is unbelievable. The amount of casualties happened at VT, its just crazy. It hasn’t really sunk into me yet, honestly.,” said Davidson.
The mood at Champs wasn’t in much higher spirits. With TV’s turned to the different news stations, Eric Robson, a Blacksburg resident, just trying to relax after today’s events with a friend.
He believes Blacksburg is a be safe town where students could walk home at night safely. “I think the town and the university and the nation is going to come together on this,” said Robson.
While some in the community keep their doors open to comfort the community, and others go out with a friend, the New Life Christian Fellowship (NLCF) members held a vigil at 8p.m. tonight at the Old Red Cross Building off of Draper Road.
The vigil was to provide a place of mourning and prayers for victims, students, families, and anyone else that wished to join. Kathleen Werner, a NLCF prayer coordinator heard the news about 9:30 a.m. “I was floored. I kept thinking about Columbine. My husband graduated from here as an engineer,” said Werner.
Former Marching Virginian, and current member of the NLCF campus ministry, Mike Swann said, “It’s just awful. I’ve been here since 1992 when I was as student.” The resident advisor that was shot today, Ryan Clark, was also a Marching Virginian.
The atmosphere in town was somber, and calm. Most people seemed to feel the tragedy that swept the campus. The next vigil will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum.