Colorado Companies Exemplify Leadership in Times of Crisis

By Gerald McSwiggan
July 25, 2012
Corporate Citizenship Center

Like many people, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting tragedy that happened last week in Colorado.  But as often happens when tragedy strikes, the community, including the business community, came together in Aurora to help those affected by this terrible crime. 

I recently read a transcript of an interview on NPR with Aurora Chamber president Kevin Hougen. Mr. Hougen talks about the many ways the business community has stepped up to help. After reaching out to him directly, I learned about a few more examples:

  • Local hotels have donated thousands of dollars, food, and free nights at the hotels to help first responders, victims, and people that were evacuated from the vicinity of the shooter’s apartment.
  • On Friday, the day the shooting happened in the early morning hours, 30 businesses donated food and beverages to first responders, victims, and their families.
  • Aurora Chamber staff delivered food to police sub-stations, fire stations, and local high schools where family members had gathered.
  • Ed Bozarth Chevrolet made a very generous gift of $50,000, directing $30,000 to start out the Aurora Family Assistance Fund and $10,000 each to the Aurora Police and Fire Departments.

These are good examples of the community coming together to deal with tragedy. 

Last week, I wrote a blog post about preparedness, and how businesses, as an integral part of the community, needed to be prepared. I wrote that we are all in this together. After an event like this, it become even more apparent how we truly are in this together.

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the National Tactical Officers Association, the Fairfax County Police, the National Retail Federation, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, created a guide on how to respond to an active shooter incident. It is unfortunate that we have to consider things like this, but the guide is a helpful reminder of what to do. Guides like this, and drills for sudden onset disasters like fires and earthquakes, help us act instinctually in the time of an incident instead of thinking about it for the first time in a high-pressure situation. 

There is nothing we can do to change what has happened, but we can rally together to help our community and prepare ourselves in the case of emergency in the future. As a representative of the business community, I am glad to see that businesses are taking a leadership role in both of these instances.