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franklin county times

Crisis response teams to train local care givers

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 10, 2003
Representatives from the National Organization for Victim Assistance arrived in Meridian on Wednesday for crisis response training to help residents deal with grief, fear and anger.
John Stein, deputy director of NOVA, flew in from Oregon one day after a gunman went on a shooting rampage at the Lockheed Martin plant where he worked, killing five co-workers and injuring nine others before killing himself.
Stein led an introductory meeting at the Wesley House Community Center that included mental health workers, ministers, city officials and Lockheed Martin administrators.
He and his colleagues at NOVA travel throughout the United States to provide crisis training for communities victimized by violence.
Traumatized community
He said whenever a place such as a business or school is associated with violent trauma, it takes a lot of hard work and attention to get things working again.
Ginger Grissom Stevens, associate director of Wesley House which has been involved in crisis intervention for many years said Wesley House, Weems Community Mental Health Center, the American Red Cross, and local ministers have been helping people cope with Tuesday's tragedy.
Stein said NOVA's task is to help care givers with a "refresher course" in crises and how it affects the human mind and spirit.
Grief and healing
Terrence Roberts, a local minister and volunteer chaplain for the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, responded to the mayhem at Lockheed Martin on Tuesday.
Although he has had some crisis training and also is a hospice chaplain, he said informing families that their loved ones were dead was difficult.
Roberts said the community at large now faces a period of healing.
Roberts, who is black, said he has seen a revival in people of all races coming together as a result of Tuesday's tragedy. Roberts said it has been on par with the community's response to 9/11.
Others at Wednesday's meeting made similar observations. Some Lockheed Martin workers have speculated Tuesday's killings may have been racially motivated, but Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie has said it is too early in the investigation to tell.