Community writes letters of support for VB victims’ families, first responders


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The outpouring of support continues across Hampton Roads.

On Monday in Norfolk, the community came together to offer words of hope and healing to everyone affected by the tragedy in Virginia Beach through a local non-profit.

The non-profit is called Compassion Cards and its mission is to share love and encouragement with the community.

This afternoon, several people took the time to write letters to remind the families and first responders, they’re not alone.

In a small back room of Coaster Coffee, dozens of strangers came to show love for Virginia Beach.

“We live around the corner and thought, it’s such a horrific incident and we thought that this was the least we could do,” Beverly Derenske said.

With a cup of coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, people spent the afternoon writing cards of comfort to families and coworkers of the 12 victims killed in Friday’s shooting. Photos of the victims were displayed nearby.

“When you walk into an environment like that, that’s how you know that it really hits close to home,” Al Derenske said.

Jordie DiFernando is the founder of Compassion Cards. She said she wanted to give the community a way to talk about their feelings while showing support for those affected.

“Hampton Roads is a really connected community and you can’t get but one or two people away from yourself before you know someone directly impacted by this, so it’s just heartbreaking,” DiFernando said.

People also wrote cards for first responders and hospital staff.

It’s been three days since the tragedy struck, and people we spoke to said the reality of what happened is still hard to process.

“It was hard to believe, definitely, that it’s our next door neighboring city,” Sara Borphy said.

One by one, cards from adults and children filled the bags. Therapy dogs were also on hand to provide comfort.

Although it’s not the scenario anyone imagined happening in Hampton Roads, DiFernando hopes the cards will offer some sort of peace.

“Just to everyone that’s been impacted, we’re so sorry that this happened and we love all of you and we support you in the days to come,” DiFernando said.

We’re told the non-profit is working to get all of the cards delivered to the families, coworkers, first responders, and the hospitals hopefully sometime this week.

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