Uvalde, Texas, US – Tracy Colton doesn’t know what to say.
“We have now relations are available to choose up photographs of their youngsters who died,” mentioned the 47-year-old supervisor of the Walgreens pharmacy in downtown Uvalde. “What do you say to them? There’s nothing you possibly can.”
Colton normally greets retailer patrons with, “Good morning, welcome to Walgreens. How are you right this moment?”
However these simply aren’t the phrases you possibly can say any extra, Colton advised Al Jazeera, simply days after 19 fourth-graders and two academics had been shot and killed at Robb Elementary Faculty on this close-knit Texas city within the deadliest college taking pictures in a decade in the US.
“I’ve hugged dad and mom after they’ve are available,” Colton mentioned. “I’ve simply cried with them”
The shop is as busy as typical, she added, however virtually silent. “It’s so quiet. It’s simply so quiet.”
Colton’s scenario is one small instance of how the tragedy has left residents’ lives modified on this small, predominately Latino city the place everybody appears to know somebody personally affected by the tragedy.
The heartbreak is palpable all over the place.
On Thursday, in what residents say is one other heartbreaking instance of the taking pictures’s impact on residents, Joe Garcia died of a coronary heart assault. His spouse of 24 years, Irma Garcia, was one of many two academics killed at Robb Elementary two days earlier than.
The aftershocks of the taking pictures are taking an emotional toll on everybody in Uvalde, Colton mentioned. “That is an emotional toll on all of our workers.”
The corporate’s ideas are with everybody affected, Fraser Engerman, Walgreens’ senior director of exterior relations, advised Al Jazeera in an electronic mail.
“We’re providing counseling companies and different care to our crew members in Uvalde the place we’ve got a retailer very near the college. We’re additionally working carefully with the local people donating provides and providing help to the households [affected],” Engerman wrote.
That is such a small neighborhood, everybody grew up with any individual concerned within the tragedy, Colton mentioned. “That’s why I’m so glad Walgreens workers from different shops … are coming to assist out,” she mentioned.
Dozens of Walgreens workers from shops in different Texas communities have travelled to the town to assist out, Colton mentioned, and workers of the Uvalde Walgreens have been capable of take day off from work to be with family members and grieve.
Staff have come from San Antonio, New Braunfels, Laredo and Eagle Go, mentioned Aimee Lusson, director of pharmacy and retail for South Texas Walgreens shops.
“We’ve simply had an outpouring of help — folks from as far-off as Dallas-Fort Price. We’ve had lots of people say I can come straight away,” mentioned Lusson, who travelled from San Antonio to be in Uvalde.
The scenario is comparable for the opposite chain eating places and shops that line Foremost Road — the central enterprise hub that bisects the city of 16,000 residents.
On Thursday, 18 of the 30 workers who had been working on the Uvalde Whataburger, a Texas-based quick meals restaurant chain, had been from different South Texas cities — principally from Eagle Go, Del Rio and San Antonio.
“Man, it’s been so useful. We’ve been busy and we’re telling workers if they should go residence, to go residence, it doesn’t matter what,” mentioned a Whataburger worker who requested to stay nameless, citing firm coverage.
“We’ve bought a variety of highschool youngsters who work right here, they usually want time to course of this,” he added.
On Friday, Ivan Montalvo, the 27-year-old supervisor of a Starbucks retailer in Eagle Go, a city on the US-Mexico border about 96km (60 miles) south of Uvalde, introduced a crew of 10 worker volunteers to the Uvalde Starbucks to assist.
One employee got here from the Texas city of Victoria, virtually 332km (200 miles) away.
“We’re all right here to assist in any means we are able to,” Montalvo mentioned.
Colton mentioned that the help is making a horrific scenario a little bit bit higher. “It reveals how a lot folks care.”