In the hours that followed my sense of time got really lost…People were pacing up and down the halls. Loaded into the “family room” crying, frantically texting and emailing… searching. Some of the tables had people covered in blankets sleeping… they were in the club and somehow got out without physical gunshot wounds and just couldn’t keep their eyes open any longer. Sobbing, crying, worried faces everywhere. When either my colleague, Jeremy, or I entered the room we would get bombarded with people asking if we had news or had we heard anything about their loved one. I kept a notebook of names of the people I was searching for… I held those names close to me and knew the huge responsibility I was carrying.
The volunteer services and guest services teams worked together to organize the families as well as the food and water donations. We assigned team members to create a spreadsheet of family names and details of their loved ones. Although volunteers did not come in on Sunday, the volunteer staff worked to organize the donations of water, pizza and blankets that were coming in. I kept my eye on 15 families and updated them with information as it became available. In some cases, we knew we were collecting families to tell them that their loved one had died. This was a very emotional and heart-wrenching job. We also provided an email address for the families to send photos of who they were searching for so we could help identify survivors.