By Nancy Agee

Once again, our nation has been touched by senseless violence… this time in Charlottesville, VA. While my heart was heavy as I watched the images of the scenes unfolding there this weekend, I was inspired by the way members of the hospital family – and my fellow Virginians – rushed in to help treat the wounded and provide care and comfort to those affected by the violence.

Our colleagues at University of Virginia Health System and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and the first responders who assisted them epitomized the ideals of this great nation, stepping up in a time of crisis to help and heal, without regard to race, religion or ideology. Protestor, counter-protestor … it did not matter to the men and women of Charlottesville’s medical and emergency response community. They saw people in need of care, and that is what they provided.

As I seek to make sense of this weekend’s events, my thoughts are with the fallen, the injured and their families. They are also with the caregivers, those who selflessly rush in when tragedy happens and help shine a light in times of darkness.

We honor our colleagues in Charlottesville, who are working together to take care of the wounded and to help heal the wounds in their community, just as we honor the work occurring in communities across this country. This weekend’s events illustrated that we still have a long journey ahead and much work to do. 

Nancy Agee is AHA Chair-Elect and the President and CEO of Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va.