BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – Tuesday marks two weeks since a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX killing 19 innocent children and two teachers. For the last week Chaplain Tony Dickey from Baldwin County has been in Uvalde helping the community and showing his support.
“This is going to take years and years and years. Their normal pattern of life has changed. Their norm is no longer norm. It’s a new norm,” Chaplain Dickey said.
This week the chaplain is attending funerals and visiting memorials that are set up in town, making himself available to anyone who needs comfort.
“We have been going between the two simply giving spiritual and emotional support for the kids and to the adults here in the town. There’s still a lot of pain. There’s a lot of grief and mourning going on here in the community, but the community is very united, very strong,” he explained.
Chaplain Dickey says he met a 4th grader who lost 12 friends in the May 24th tragedy and so far that’s been one of the toughest moments of his visit.
“He is healing very well. His method of healing is he wants to talk about his friends. He wants everybody to know about his friends and that one day they will still see each other,” the chaplain said.
It’s moments like that when Dickey knows he’s in the right place at the right time to show love and support to those dealing with an unimaginable loss. This week he’s also helping people of all ages grieve by handing out stuffed animals.
“We have a program that we put together here and it’s called Animals In Need of Hugs and it is for the kids and the adults, as well. We have a lot of stuffed animals of all different types and sizes and they are adopting an animal to take home and hug every day,” Dickey added.
He plans to stay in Uvalde for as long as he’s needed.