HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A banner on display at Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville will soon be on its way to Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga.
Mall marketing director, Molly Bell, wanted to do something for the victims' friends and loved ones. She immediately knew that others in Huntsville did, too. That's why she had the banner printed, and has markers at the ready for mall patrons to sign it with messages of hope, prayer, and love.
"It was a no-brainer to think of some kind of outlet where someone could send love, support, care, and be able to get that to the school," she explained. "I instantly thought back to ten years ago when this happened here with Lee. And our community has a strong tie to bus safety, bus regulations, and being aware of the impact a crash like that can have on your community."
People like Cecilia Kirkland-Watson wanted to sign it, in support of those hurting right now. As a mother, she knows the trust you put in the people who drive your children to school.
"For something like that to happen makes you very nervous to send your kid on the bus in the mornings," she said. "This is such a sweet thing to do because we feel kind of far away. What can we do to help? And such a small gesture means a lot, I'm sure."
Kirkland-Watson's daughter, Sydney, wanted to share her own message to the Chattanooga students who are grieving their friends: "We can encourage them, for them to keep pushing and not let go," she said. "I hope that you guys can get better and go home safely."
"As you can see, people take advantage and just soar with it," Bell said, noting the amount of signatures already on the banner by Tuesday night.
The banner is at the mall's second level food court entrance. Bell said it would be there through the weekend, and the goal is to see the white of the poster board covered up with signatures and sentiments. She said the mall personnel will send the banner to Woodmore Elementary on Monday.
"It's a way to share emotion and their pain," she explained.