DADEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Community members in Dadeville are looking for ways to help their city take steps towards recovery.
This comes after Saturday’s mass shooting at a birthday party that left four dead and at least 32 others injured.
Because this shooting happened at a sixteenth birthday party, many of the victims were just teenagers.
Heidi Smith with Ivy Creek Healthcare said 15 teenage victims were sent to Lake Martin Community Hospital, all with gunshot wounds.
Smith said the hospital had 20 to 25 people working diligently along with others assisting remotely, many of which have their own children, so she says it hit close to home.
She said you can practice for events like this, but you can never truly prepare for them.
“It was just really difficult because everybody knows everybody,” said Smith. “And seeing people come through the emergency room that you know. I think it was just very difficult, and like I said they handled it like troopers. Everything I’ve heard has been positive. They’ve received accolades from all over the country.”
Smith said free counseling is being provided to the hospital staff to help them as they look to move forward following such a traumatic event.
The school community in Dadeville has also been hit hard with devastation. Local pastor and Chaplin for the Dadeville High School football team, Dr. Ben Hayes, told CBS 42 counseling is being provided for students and staff.
He said the few that came to school Monday were met with overwhelming sadness, saying many cried together mourning the loss and trauma that came with Saturday’s shooting.
Dr. Hayes said this community now needs to prepare for the long term, especially for the kids.
“The first responders, educators and students are going to struggle with PTSD because of what they’ve been through,” said Dr. Hayes. Even the students that are not part of the shooting that were not even there, they’ve seen the pictures, they’ve seen the videos, they’ve heard the stories. And so, we need to be aware that this is a long-term situation where they’re going to need some support and counseling.”
Dr. Hayes said in the days ahead it’s so important for these kids to know that the adults of this community are here for them and care about them.
The Community Foundation of East Alabama is stepping up to help the community financially by establishing the ‘Caring For Dadeville’ fund.
This is intended to help gather financial donations that will be distributed to non-profits that can best serve the community’s needs.
President of CFEA, Katie Whittelsey, said after speaking with community leaders these funds will likely go towards funeral costs, hospital bills, and counseling along with possible youth and trauma programs.
She said so far, they are seeing gifts pour in nationwide but that they are still in need donations.
Whittelsey said their goal is to help Dadeville heal and move forward with the financial capacity to do so.
“What we need to do is ensure they have the counseling, the support that they need and also we have to think about what’s next,” said Whittelsey. “What do we do to make sure that Dadeville gets everything they need so that they do not feel like they are financially struck at the same time as they are trying to recover from just something none of us could have ever imagined.”
To learn more about how you can donate to help those in need in this community you can visit https://www.cfeastalabama.org/caring-for-dadeville.