In light of last week’s tragedy, I have struggled on whether or not something should be said from our office. Words though well meaning, often times are not enough at a time like this. Words though encouraging, may not be enough. Struggling with what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, often times complicates the message.
Regardless, on behalf of our office I would like to share the following: First and foremost, NWAC thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who work and attend school at Umpqua Community College. We also have received many notices from people around the country sending their thoughts, condolences, and prayers, for Umpqua Community College.
As I reflect daily on this event, I am drawn to many things, but one thought comes to my heart and mind. A few years ago the NWAC adopted the following foundational principle: “The NWAC wants to be about Character, Competition, and Community.” Many of those who perished, when asked about their religious faith, spoke up for what they believed, and were killed for it. Tragic, sad, and devastating, yet I find some solace knowing that these student’s character and their beliefs did not perish with them. Their Character will live as an example to others; that character means something, and these victims died because they lived their convictions.
One of the victims, Trevan Anspach (member of the 14-15 Umpqua Community College Men’s Basketball Team) who was shot and died, rolled on top of an 18-year-old student protecting her so that she would not be shot. Student Chris Mintz, a 30-year-old Iraq war veteran was shot 7 times holding the door closed so the shooter could not enter the classroom. These two men demonstrated an incredible lesson, that when faced with adversity, character will shine through.
The communities of Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon, and surrounding communities have been shattered. As these communities look to put back the pieces, and undoubtedly ask why and how do we recover from something like this, often it is the power of community that may help the rebuilding process. Community is about action, it is about comrades sharing their joy and pains together, united because of their experiences and interests. Community is not just about being together, it also doing together. The NWAC community that Umpqua Community College is a part of, will do our part in helping the Riverhawks.
As we continue to compete this year, let’s keep in mind the benefits of Competition yet never forget that our responsibility is to help develop Character in our student-athletes and to share in the joys and pains of our Community (NWAC family).
We may never pass this way again.
Our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of UCC.