The Park District of Highland Park Board President Terry Grossberg delivered the following remarks at this week’s Regular Board Meeting:
Before we begin with our meeting agenda, I wanted to take a moment to comment on the tragic events of July 4 that shook our community to its core. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the seven victims, those who were injured, and everyone who was impacted by this senseless act.
I want to thank the brave first responders who ran towards danger to render aid during this active shooter situation and the individuals who responded selflessly and put themselves at risk to care for others. I also want to thank Highland Park, state, federal, and neighboring law enforcement agencies who assisted in the apprehension of the suspect, as well as the Mayor and City for keeping our residents updated and supported during the immediate aftermath and over the last three weeks. We are also grateful for the support from the countless government partners, agencies and hundreds of volunteers who continue to provide ongoing victim resources and services to the survivors impacted by the tragedy on July 4.
It is strong communities like ours that work together for our collective well-being.
As I sit here tonight, surrounded by my fellow Park Board Commissioners, I would be remiss in not mentioning how proud we all are of our park district staff, for their emergency response efforts on July 4th, and how they have contributed to the healing of our community following this horrific tragedy.
Along with so many of you, the Park District was there. As co-sponsors of the Parade, over one hundred of our employees, including our high school and college-aged camp counselors, full time staff, my fellow board commissioners, and many of our family members, were lining up the parade floats, marching in the parade, and setting up for the Fourth Fest celebration planned at Sunset Woods Park.
In the short days that followed, trauma counseling and other therapeutic resources were provided to support our team members who were in the thick of things, allowing us to re-open our facilities, and restart our programs. Children are now back in camp making summer memories, and families are finding a much-needed respite in our parks, programs, playgrounds, and beaches.
Over the past three weeks, the Park District has continued to persevere in effort to care for our staff and community by providing locations for community gatherings, volunteering for donation drives, providing scholarships and services for victim’s families, and most importantly, providing essential park and recreation outlets to the community — to aid in the healing process and gain back a sense of normalcy.
July is National Parks and Recreation Month. How fitting that this year’s theme is “We Rise Up.” That is exactly what our Park District is doing – Rising Up to help our community heal and bring back joy and hope. On behalf of my fellow Board members, I would like to thank all Park District staff for your compassionate hearts and your passion for serving and supporting our community.
Together, we are Highland Park Strong.