When the worst tragedy occurred, you showed your steadfast support to aid those most in need. For that, we are eternally grateful.
Our team was shocked and saddened by the senseless act of the Pulse shooting which took 49 lives, injured countless others, and destroyed our great community’s sense of peace and safety. In the early morning hours of darkness, we came together in an inspiring, powerful way that showed the world true strength, unity, and compassion.
We received the call to respond to Orlando Regional Medical Center to provide crisis support to the victims and their families. “We were all shocked by what had happened but we knew we had the skills to help the survivors and the families of the deceased cope with their trauma and grief,” said Kristin, VSC’s first staff member to respond to the call. Upon learning the magnitude and severity of the tragedy, our entire crisis response team was quickly mobilized to be with the families as they awaited news on the status of their loved ones.
Our team worked side by side with the FBI, FDLE, and other law enforcement agencies as information was released to family members. “Our staff was uniquely qualified to respond to the tragedy and took on the significant responsibility of notifying families that their loved one did not survive the attack,” said JoEllen, VSC’s Program Director. We were able to provide support to the families not only through our counseling services, but also by arranging transportation and lodging, making funeral arrangements, and assisting with other needs. Your generous contributions allowed our team to be on the front lines helping families begin to put the broken pieces of their lives back together.
Many of the victims and their families were Spanish speaking, which created additional fear, not knowing if others would be able to understand them when they expressed their pain. “Being bilingual and Hispanic, I was able to console them and provide the emotional support they needed in their native language to offer comfort and strength,” said Indhira, one of the VSC’s bilingual crisis counselors.
In the weeks following the shooting, the Orlando United Assistance Center opened to help victims and their families navigate the system and receive long-term support. We now have a therapist and victim advocate stationed at the OUAC providing support to the victims and their loved ones. “Emotional healing from a trauma is a long and painful journey. We are here to provide compassionate, individualized services for the victims and their loved ones; to walk with them hand in hand to recover a sense of power over their lives,” said Lucy, VSC’s Pulse therapist.
Because of you, our team had the resources to respond to the worst mass shooting in our great country’s history. Because of you, we have been able to provide free, unlimited, and confidential services to Pulse victims and their families. Because of you, we will continue to serve anyone needing our services, for as long as they are needed.
“We couldn’t be more proud to stand together with you to help heal our amazing community,” said Lui Damiani, VSC’s Executive Director. Thank you for your
With sincere gratitude,
The Victim Service Center Team