Last week’s tragedy involving the deaths of two young girls has greatly upset the people of Wright’s Mesa. The unfortunate events occurred outside of the Town of Norwood in a rural area. While many details will continue to remain unknown as the investigation proceeds, people in town report feeling very dismayed and want answers as to how something so unfortunate could have happened locally.
In a small town where local organizations and people work closely to support each other and the spirit of community is celebrated, the news has been quite shocking. People in Norwood have reported not knowing the suspects involved; in fact, most had never seen their faces or knew they were even living nearby.
Still, the citizens of Norwood have come together and continue to respond with utmost compassion.
Local parents wish there were something they could have done to help prevent the tragedy.
The Fire and EMS district board and local law enforcement have reported feeling very heavy-hearted in dealing with the investigation.
Some community members in an effort to promote peace and to honor the deceased children have begun leaving offerings.
Norwood’s Doug Olson, a school board official and local business owner, initiated the movement at the property gate, simply because he wanted to do something to help the town’s suffering in the uncomfortable time.
He described it as a call to action. Olson said he doesn’t necessarily see himself as religious or even spiritual; he said he just wanted to make an expression of love.
“So many of us just don’t know what to do,” he said on Facebook earlier this week. “It will make me feel better, and I hope in some way the girls can get the message that this is a community who cares.”
Indeed, they do.
People from all walks of life — farmers, teachers, ranchers, working professionals, the elderly and the young, single 20-somethings have responded to Olson’s message.
In fact, his heartfelt social media post was shared nearly 50 times in just a few days by Norwood residents.
Since then, many people have driven out to the property, located on Thunder Road, and left flowers, messages, candles and even angels at the entrance.
Others on social media have begun brainstorming various ways to make peace with the dark situation, including a burial of some sort or a candlelight vigil.
Norwood’s Carrie Andrew, a local leader who serves on several boards and works as director of the library, said she still believes in Norwood, and that the tragedy must not define the town or overshadow how far the town has come in the last decade in building its spirit of unity.
“This is a horribly tragic incident where the innocent were the victims who paid with their lives,” she said. “But let this not vilify every new person who has moved to town nor the positive changes that are being made.”
Andrew said the town must keep an open heart, and that people must get to know, or at least make way for, future newcomers without judgement.