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The violence that shatters also unites

Courtesy of MCT

It never ceases to amaze me how strangers can come together in the midst of a tragic situation.

Media outlets all over the country have had their eyes on a small town about 50 miles north of Columbus this week. Anyone who has flipped on a television or radio has heard about the tragic deaths of three missing people from Knox County.

The bodies of Tina Herrman, her 11-year-old son, Kody Maynard, and Stephanie Sprang were recovered last week.

It’s a horrible situation, but something amazing has come out of it.

The entire world has wrapped its arms around this town, this family and specifically 13-year-old Sarah Maynard, the sole survivor, who was discovered in the suspect’s home.

Like many others, I don’t know this family. I’ve never been to the Mount Vernon area but I was planning on making the trek last Saturday to help look for the three missing people.

When authorities found the bodies Thursday, I felt a mix of relief and anguish. Finally, this family got closure — but in the worst way possible.

But there’s something remarkable about hundreds of people searching for people they don’t even know. And even though the search is over, the community is continuing to give.

A Facebook page, titled “Pray for the Maynard Kids,” has served as a place for community members to organize their events, give condolences to the family and show support.

Among the many events, a local Dairy Queen held a fundraiser Saturday for the family, giving $1 from every Blizzard purchase. Several candlelit vigils have honored the victims, and locals have been wearing purple ribbons and clothes for the family.

Posts have poured in on the Facebook page since the investigation began. Now, there are more than 13,000 members.

The comments on the page serve as an example of the community’s effort to support the family. One post read, “These people have impacted my life. I will never forget them.” Another said that someone bought 14 Blizzards from Dairy Queen, and others mention their involvement with the search parties. Countless more sent their prayers to the families.

And most of these people don’t even know the family.

Sometimes it seems like every time I turn on the news, someone has been beaten, raped or killed. My parents and grandparents never miss an opportunity to vouch that the world just isn’t what it used to be and that we live in a colder place now.

And on those days when I’m beginning to believe them, like the day authorities announced the launch of the investigation, people surprise me. They stop to pray, they stop after work to walk around in a muddy, wooded area or they stop at the bank to give a donation.

They stop their lives.

Take this tragic situation and turn it into inspiration to change your daily routine. Hold that door open, help someone up, volunteer at a shelter, donate food or Christmas presents this break and be a part of our generous community.

But don’t catch yourself looking in from the outside.

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