Showing solidarity with grieving Southern Oregon neighbors, South Medford's girls soccer team reached out to its Roseburg High School competitors with yellow roses in a ceremony Tuesday before the varsity soccer match.
"I think yellow means unity," South Medford High School volunteer assistant coach Kendra McMillen said.
The ceremony included a moment of silence in remembrance of the Umpqua Community College shooting Oct. 1 that claimed 10 lives, but for Roseburg soccer coach Darcy Vredenburg, the game was an important first step moving forward.
"It feels like it's been a long time since we've been on the field," Vredenburg said. "South Medford High School has done a real good job of showing thoughtfulness and respect during this time."
For Roseburg 11th-grader Anna Lake, who rooted for her team from the sidelines, the simple gesture meant much.
"It was really nice to know that they were thinking of us and supporting us because it has been really hard," Lake said.
The display was organized in large part by South Medford parents and players. South Medford coach Aly Hollewijn was proud of the character her team showed.
"As a coach, it's really humbling when you have players that think that way — think beyond themselves," Hollewijn said.
Throughout the Rogue Valley, local residents are joining Roseburg in mourning the victims of the UCC shooting, showing support for their families and trying to make sense of the random violence.
"They're so close to us, so we just wanted to give them our love and prayers, and just let them know we're thinking about them," SMHS senior Renae Nisbet said from the soccer sideline after the display.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Hedrick Middle School football players shared stickers, snacks and drinks with their Roseburg opponents just before the start of the 5:30 p.m. football game.
On Wednesday, Rogue Community College will host candlelight vigils from 5 to 7 p.m. on all its campuses. Medford's Riverside campus vigil will be held on the plaza outside the bookstore on the corner of Eighth and Bartlett streets. White City's will be held at the east entrance of the Table Rock campus by the bookstore, and Grants Pass's will be held at the Redwood campus Rogue Bowl. All are open to the public.
Attendees are encouraged to wear green. RCC's student government representatives will provide candles, ribbons and tissues. Security will be present at all three events.
On Thursday, Southern Oregon University plans a vigil, fundraiser barbecue and community meeting at its Ashland campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
The vigil will begin at 10 a.m. at the Third Eye sculpture on the Britt Lawn. Participants will have an opportunity to share thoughts and reactions to the shooting. Members of local faith communities will be present for those seeking spiritual reflection or guidance, as will personnel from SOU's Student Life, Student Health and Wellness and Student Support and Intervention. Discussion will be led by Janelle Wilson, associate director of Student Life for Social Justice and Service, and Jody Waters, associate provost.
At 11 a.m., a barbecue and fundraiser for UCC victims' families will be held in the Stevenson Union Courtyard. It will be presented by the SOU chapter of Student Veterans of America, with food donated by SOU’s Commuter Resource Center. All the event's proceeds will go to support victims’ families in Roseburg.
At 2 p.m., there will be a Community Meeting for SOU students, faculty and staff only in Room 352 of the Hannon Library. Representatives from SOU administration, Campus Public Safety, Student Support and Intervention and others will be on hand to address concerns and issues brought up by events of the past week. Parking will be free on campus until 2 p.m.
On Friday, all 10 Human Bean drive-thru locations are hosting a donation day in support of Douglas County students and families affected by the shooting. They will accepting customer donations from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition, the Human Bean locations are donating $10,000 to the Greater Douglas United Way's UCC Relief Fund. For more information, visit thehumanbean.com or gduway.org.
Through Oct. 31, Rogue Credit Union is accepting donations in order to benefit the families that were impacted by the shooting. Donations can be made in any branch location or over the phone at 800-856-7328. Rogue is prepared to match donations collected, up to $7500, and distribute to the families that were affected by this tragedy that hits close to home.