Letter to the Editor: A Mothers Gratitude

Dear Editor,

We all hear about it too many times in the news and wonder how it could happen … again.

And the accompanying question, at this time, is usually:  “What would happen if it happened at YSU?”

On Monday of this week, it did happen at YSU.

The school had a gunman loose on campus.

The text alerts went out, anxiety went high and parents and loved ones found all that they could do was try to communicate with their on-campus family members and simply wait.

Thankfully, there were no injuries. All was well, once again.

But I think everyone, even those remotely tied to the university that day, will be changed by this event.

I know I am. I know it makes it all seems so real.

I graduated from the university in 1988 and have a daughter who attends the university currently.

Monday was a tough day.

But it was made more stressful because my daughter has special needs. She attends the university in their TOPS program. This program has given her a wonderful college experience. She attends classes, meets people, works out at the rec center and has lunch with friends. All these things are done with a coach/buddy near her.

These coach/buddies are students themselves. Some are younger than my daughter, but their maturity and caring are far beyond their chronological age. These coaches/buddies have made this YSU college experience all that it is for her.

My daughter was at lunch in Wendy’s when the lockdown began. The crowded lunch time meant so many people had to hide at the same time. All the while, quelling down panic.

It was the coach/buddy, Kraig, who she was with, who knew what to do. How to get her to safety and how to keep her safe and calm until the “all clear” was given.

Not only did this buddy do these things, but he made sure to text me personally to let me know that she was fine. Pretty amazing and wonderful!

The thing is, in the world we live in, so many people care only about themselves, but it was at this time that these coaches/buddies, just young adult themselves, made sure to think of someone else first.

My daughter has two friends from her part-time job who attend the university as well. And I received texts from them asking me if my daughter was okay. One of these friends, Lexi, was in Wendy’s with my daughter when the alert went out. She told me, “I made sure she was with her buddy and okay before I left.”

It turns out that these two amazing people texted each other during the lockdown to see if either knew if Elizabeth was still okay. The other friend, Mitch, told me on the phone later that day that, “Your daughter was the first person I thought of when the alert went out.”

Again, pretty wonderful.

In a world of “me first,” I had to write today to say thank you to those who were part of my daughter’s safety net that day, and because these wonderful young adults took the time to think of that “someone else” first and then themselves.

Michele Gianetti