VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Volunteer Hampton Roads has launched a campaign called “VBStrong: Signs of Strength” in the wake of a shooting that left 12 people dead in Virginia Beach.
The organization will have 12 blank signs — each being 12 feet in length — to represent the 12 people killed across the area this week. Those signs will be hosted by a business or community area for one day.
“Since the shooting we’ve been contacted by our affiliates in Orlando, Parkland and Las Vegas, all who went through mass shootings as well and each one did something similar to this and found it was a great too for the community to come together and share what they’re feeling,” said Executive Director of Volunteer Hampton Roads Stephanie Gorham.
The public will be encouraged to visit the locations and leave messages — of tribute, hope, love, hurt, support, etc. — for the victims and their families.
According to the organization, each sign will be staffed with volunteers to assist those who want to write a message.
One of the locations on Wednesday was at TowneBank near the municipal center.
“I think people feel a range of emotions whether you’re coming to put words of appreciation for the responders or just hope or peace for those grieving there’s a canvas for everything,” said TowneBank’s VP of Market Engagement, Allie Wittkamp.
Everyone from police officers to children stopped by and picked up a colored sharpie at the locations, leaving a little bit of their heart on the pad.
“My husband was at that building the day before,” said Chesapeake resident, Laura Inness. “He works in engineering and he had to go down there for some planning issues in Virginia Beach, so it really hit home, had it been a day sooner it could have been bad for him. He does actually know people in that building that were attacked, so it just hit home for us.”
At the end of June, the signs will be delivered to the City of Virginia Beach.