I am a Hokie. I grew up an hour south of Blacksburg, fell in love with the campus at first sight, got two degrees from Tech, and moved back to the Blacksburg area just a few years ago. My brother graduated from Tech. My mom, who is now seventy years old, applied to Tech last fall. She is now a proud Master's student in the field of Health Care and Health Education. For those of us native to SW Virginia, Tech is personified. A paternal figure who has given much to us, and asked for very little. It is a shiny gemstone in an often ignored part of America. Tech is our school; indeed, we *are* Virginia Tech. But, I figured few people would understand the bond and community that those of us from this geographic area feel every day. The outpouring of kindness since the shootings at Tech April 16 has changed my perspective.
NewCity is located just next door to Tech. Today I had lunch over at the student union, on campus. The walls of this rather large facility were literally papered with cards and well wishes from people all over the world. Outside the food court a hustle and bustle started as I dipped into my bowl of soup. I saw a team of volunteers unloading boxes and boxes of bottled water, chips, boxed cookies, granola bars. A student volunteer in his "Hokies United" T-shirt handed me a bag full of snacks. "Here ma'am. These are care packages from people all over the country, sent to the college students for exam week. We have more than we ever could have imagined. Please, help yourself. Take some home to your family."
In my bag was a note which read "Hey Hokie! A family is Maryland is thinking of you and wishing you the best! Good luck on exams!" One student next to me looked at the mountains of items. I heard her say, in a small, quiet voice, "I cannot believe how nice people are".