HEALING, MSD STRONG, NEWS — March 13, 2018 at 7:13 am

“Day of Healing” connects MSD students and first responders

Teachers Marcia Cunningham, Ronit Reoven and Debra Wanamaker and sophomore Kellie Wanamaker meet with a member of the SWAT team. Photo courtesy of Holly Van Tassel-Schusteran

The “Day of Healing,” an event held to reconnect students with first responders from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, took place at North Community Park in Coral Springs on Sunday, March 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event was organized by MSD English teacher Holly Van Tassel-Schuster, who planned the event after multiple wives of SWAT team members reached out inquiring on behalf of their husbands.

“It was an important step in my healing process to meet the people that were so important in getting everyone to safety,” junior Sarah Schmidt said.

At the park, a large tent was set out where snacks and beverages were provided to victims, first responders, 911 operators, SWAT team members, Coral Springs police officers, Broward Sheriff’s Department, paramedics and anyone else who assisted during on Feb. 14. Volunteers helped connect participants oftentimes without any names, but only by explaining their stories.

“Having the ability to reunite and talk again with the people that helped them through such a traumatic time was comforting to many,” Van Tassel-Schuster said. “These officers were the teachers heroes, and it goes both ways for officers and teachers.”

It was an important day for the first responders as well. Police officers, paramedics, SWAT team members and other first responders who were curious about those they helped were able to reunite with victims and see that they are going to be okay. It was a day in which tears were shed and hugs were exchanged, but most importantly, it served as an important facet of the long healing process for everyone involved.

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Samantha is a senior at MSD this year. She enjoys horseback riding on the weekends and taking pictures for newspaper during the week. Samantha is a fun adventure seeking individual.

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