“Stay strong and know Hokies from all over send their support,” wrote one person identified as “02” in the center of an orange linen piece of fabric.
On a white swatch, “P@ Shanks” signed “May our loving God be with you in this time. We love you.”
A woman named Elaine wrote in silver ink on a maroon fabric swatch, “We all mourn you and are keeping you in our thoughts & prayers.”
Orange, maroon and white are the school colors of Virginia Tech, the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history Monday when a gunman killed 32 students and professors before taking his own life.
And on Tuesday, CSU students were making a quilt from the three colorful swatches – along with dozens of other – that will be sent to Virginia Tech.
The idea was conceived by the Arnold Air Society, which will also sew the quilt. The group gathered in the Plaza Tuesday to have passersby sign notes for the quilt.
The society is an honorary professional service organization within the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
CSU has a lot in common with Virginia Tech. Both were founded as land grant institutions within two years of each other. Each school is known for its agriculture, engineering and veterinary programs.
At a table on the Plaza, pieces of linen waited to be signed. Two jars sat collecting just over $200. Maroon and orange ribbons were strung onto small safety pins and waited to adorn the garments of CSU students.
Casey Mashl, a senior chemical engineering major and AFROTC cadet, will be sewing the material into a quilt to send to the Arnold Air Society detachment at Virginia Tech.
The organization does service projects throughout the community to support the military and to create awareness. The biggest is the POW/MIA ceremony held by the Plaza flagpole in the fall.
Corey Longhurst, a sophomore business management major, signed an orange piece of material to let Virginia Tech students know that while they are thousands of miles away, our thoughts and prayers are with them.
“As they deal with this grief, I can’t even imagine how they feel,” Longhurst said.
The students manning the tent ran out of safety pins early. By Monday night they had made about 900 pins with 39 spools of ribbon. Tuesday afternoon they bought 46 more spools.
“We cleaned out Wal-Mart of safety pins and ribbon,” said Dustin Keller, freshman chemistry major.
Scott Lichtwardt, an AFROTC cadet and senior civil engineering major, said the quilt will allow CSU community members to physically write down their emotions.
“We wanted to do something that shows we truly care about what is going on, more from our hearts than from our pocketbooks,” he said.
Riley Hesterman, an AFROTC cadet and junior marketing major, came up with the idea to make the quilt at Monday’s weekly meeting.
“We were talking about the tragedy and the idea came up to show our support to Virginia Tech,” said Emily Kaiser, a senior chemistry major. “Some of us know people there.”
Jon Graning, a junior political science major also in ROTC, donated his time by twisting maroon and orange ribbons, then stringing them onto safety pins.
“We are wearing the ribbons to show our support of Virginia Tech,” Graning said.
Sara Anderson, a freshman human development and family studies major, stopped by to donate money and to pick up a ribbon to support Virginia Tech.
“I know if it was CSU (that had gone through the tragedy) they would do the same for us,” Anderson said. “I am so sorry for the families and friends. I am donating money because I know funerals and things like that can be an issue.”
She added: “Our hearts and prayers are with those at Virginia Tech.”
The Arnold Air Society will be on the Plaza from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
Donations, Notes, Ribbons, etc.