Saturday morning, we all got a wake up call

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Arizona.  As I checked in with friends on Twitter, Facebook and the like, I was chatting about the weather and the sun creeping over the mountains.  That morning, I came across a wonderful quote from Catherine Leyen (@MRIchat).

I shared it with friends on Facebook at 9:07 AM Arizona time.

It read:

Never pass up the opportunity to tell somebody how much what they do makes a positive difference in the world. ~ Catherine Leyen

A two hour trip down the road, at the Safeway on Ina and Oracle in Tucson, events were unfolding that would horrify the nation, destroy families, and and send a wake up call to us all.

Shortly after 10 AM Saturday morning a gun man opened up on a crowd of Arizonans who had come to see Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. (For the video series, see

As events unfolded, Arizonans and people from around the country watched in horror, misinformation abounded as reports came out that someone had shot into a crowd of people and that Congresswoman Giffords had died. They were later corrected to say that she was fighting for her life – and winning.  Others were not as lucky.  This link from CNN provides the time line, and information on those who were lost on a sunny and crisp Tucson morning, including a Federal Judge, a nine year old  girl who came into this world on 9/11 and left it on another day of terror and tragedy, parents, grandparents, a local pastor,and a young man planning to be married. Two local  physicians who happened to be on the scene gave aide to the wounded while Daniel Hernandez, a trained nurse and a Giffords intern,rushed to see what happened and used his medical training to “apply pressure to the Congresswoman’s wound and keep her active and alert,” according to  Arizona state Rep. Steve Farley. Hernandez was Farley’s former campaign manager. (source: Jodi Powers- Community Public Relations)

In Tucson, hundreds gathered leave flowers, light candles, sing songs, and pray outside of University Medical Center and outside Gabby’s Tucson office.

Up on Phoenix, many, including Annie Loyd and Jodi Powers and friends of the The Fusion Foundation rallied friends, community leaders, and others to the Arizona Capital in Phoenix for a candlelight vigil and shared news updates locally as well as the insights that were coming in from friends in the the South.

As the evening drew to a close, prayers were being sent from around the country and around the state.  At the vigil at the Capitol, Eric Landau used his talents to send the strains of Amazing Grace soaring into the night while later singer Olivia Calderon raised her voice in prayer and song with the Ave Maria.

Saturday, January 8, 2011, began with a glorious Arizona sunrise and ended with the world’s prayers.  But prayers, as important as they are, are not enough. On Saturday, we also received a wake up call.  A reminder to all of us that…

As parents…

It is important to pay  attention to what our children are saying and doing. In addition we must talk with them, no matter their age, build up their positive values, and help them understand that senseless violence and hate is never an answer. We change the world with our words and actions….not bullets.

As leaders…

We must remember that what we write, what we say, and what we do impacts others.  It’s been speculated that the “virtol” of recent years both locally and nationally combined with the violence that we see on the news, in film and in games fueled these events.  Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t.  We may never know for sure.  But perhaps, what is better to keep in mind is that it can and that with leadership comes the responsibility to build up our community, not tear it or others down.  When we exhibit negative behaviors and beliefs as leaders, we, as leaders, should never be surprised if someone follows our lead whether we intended them to or not.

As Arizonans…

It is a reminder that in our state we have so much to be proud of and to share. We have seen how in times of crisis we can rise up and come together.   Yes, we have challenges, so does the rest of world.  But we also have opportunities to combine our talents, listen to opposing viewpoints, build solutions and coalitions and make things better.  Saturday serves as a reminder that this is the best use of our time, energy, and talents.

And most of all, as People, to remember what Catherine Leyen shared…

Never pass up the opportunity to tell somebody how much what they do makes a positive difference in the world. ~ Catherine Leyen

None of us can change what happened yesterday, but together we can all help with the healing… and never pass up on an opportunity to make a difference.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned….

Joan Koerber-Walker

To the families of these who lost their life on Saturday (U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63; Christina Greene, 9; Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79.) as well as all who were injured in Saturday’s events my thoughts and  prayers as well as those of so many others are with you.

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits, as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   She and her family have made their home in Arizona since 1992.

The news items and videos included here are the property of the respective news agencies.  Images of the Arizona sky and Giffords Memorial are the work of Frank Quiroz.


One Response to Saturday morning, we all got a wake up call

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Henry Sr., Jen Kuhn and others. Jen Kuhn said: Well written RT @mikehenrysr: @CorePurpose Saturday, we all got a wake up call #LeadChange #Giffords #peace […]

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