AV Community Is Caring, and it Matters

hands reaching for each other helping

I am a native Mainer. I was born in Lewiston, attended school, got married, had children, work and live in the city. For me, there is no other place that I will ever be able to call home like Lewiston, Maine. Infamously, the country got to know the name of Lewiston on Oct. 25 as the location of the deadliest mass shooting in the country this year. As the city, the survivors and the victims’ families slowly start to understand how we continue on, we also enter the season of warmth, love, thanksgiving and family. Certainly making it more difficult for those who lost people they care about.

For me, this season reminds me of the incredible strength, care and compassion of the AV community. If you know me, you would likely know that I am not an overly sensitive or emotional person. I hope to be a good person, a caring person and someone that will help others in a time of need. Yet, I have to admit that I would not have been someone that told you that comforting words, or messages would mean a lot to people who were experiencing difficult times.

That changed in the wake of the tragedy my city endured on Oct. 25. The shootings started around 7 p.m. and news of it started breaking out in the local community around 7:30. It hit the national news around 8:30 or 9 that evening, and by 9:12 I had the first person from this community reach out to me and check on me, my family and my city. From there, the DMs, text messages, phone calls and emails started coming in on a regular basis. I had dozens of people that I have met from the AV community reach out. Many of these people I have never met in person, and some with whom I had only occasional contact on social media.

What I can tell you is that it mattered. At a time when the city was scared, my family was shaken and my workplace was in lockdown, hearing from others, simply to say “I am thinking of you” and “I hope you are OK” made an enormous difference. At a time when you wondered where all the good in the world was, the AV community stepped up and demonstrated there is still an enormous amount of compassion, empathy and love in the world.

I am writing this with a few purposes in mind. One is to simply say thank you to everyone that reached out. It mattered, and even though it may have been only a couple of words, it helped. Second, is to recognize that it also taught me that the simple act of reaching out to say, “are you OK,” really does matter and really does make a difference. It is something that I hope I never have to do (due to a similar tragedy), but absolutely will if the time arises. Third, to recognize how lucky we all are to be part of a community and industry that develops such good connections, and is willing to lend a hand, or an ear. I am convinced that if I had needed any type of support, every person who sent me a message would have done all they could to provide that support. For that, I am extremely grateful.