VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A growing memorial dedicated to each of the 12 Virginia Beach shooting victims continues to be a place for the community to mourn and honor their memory.
There is a little bit of everything. Of course there are flowers and Teddy bears, but also see sealed letters to the victims and handmade art.
As the memorial continues to grow, so does the number of people who come visit.
There are easily thousands of flowers, and some people came very far distances to honor the 12 who died. One man, Bob Ossler, came from southern Florida.
He is a chaplain and has visited other mass shootings around the country. He says he feels like it is his responsibility as a man of his faith to be there for anyone in times like this.
“This is my 5th shooting in the last year. This is going on far too much. It is just good to be there for folks who are just hurting so deeply, you know their heart is very tenderized, and times like this you just want to be there for them,” said Ossler.
Emma Inman was in Belgium on Friday when she heard the news her friend Rich Nettleton had died. For her, there was no hesitation in coming out here.
“Whenever you lose somebody that you’re close to, it takes a little piece of you with that,” said Emma
She said says that little piece belongs to Nettleton
“He was a beautiful human being. He never had a harsh word to say. He always had a smile on his face. He always wanted to do whatever he could to help other people. and for him to have died in this place and in this way is just horrible,” she explained.
Rich had become a close friend of her family over the past 20 years. But Emma was not here on Friday.
“We were in Belgium for a business trip over the weekend when we heard about the news, and a friend who works for the city called me to tell me that Rich was among the people who had died,” Emma explained.
For Emma, Rich was not just a friend, he was a support system
“My husband and I lost our only child, and Rich was one of the first people who reached out to us to offer comfort, and it’s just who he was,” she said.
So for her, no amount of time or distance was going to keep her from being here to honor him. She says that little piece may physically be gone, but never forgotten.
“But we have our memories of him, and we will carry those with us for the rest of our lives,” she added.