Following a bittersweet tradition, Orange County officials gathered Tuesday to honor the 58 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting and transfer ownership of the "Comfort Quilt" received locally after the Pulse massacre.
The quilt came to Orlando in 2016 after a gunman killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse from San Bernardino, where 14 people were murdered in a 2015 shooting. The "Comfort Quilt" was originally made in 2001 by Ohio first-graders from St. Hilary Catholic School to send to children at a New Jersey Catholic school who had lost family members and friends in the 9/11 attack. Since then, the quilt has traveled to other places affected by tragedy, including Newtown, Connecticut after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"We received this comfort quilt about a month after Pulse," Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said Tuesday
. "This comfort quilt meant a great deal to us."
The quilt will make the journey to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman later this week along with a Las Vegas memorial banner signed by Orange County commissioners and local residents, says Carrie Proudfit, spokesperson for the county. Jacobs said she was saddened by the Las Vegas community's loss but proud to share with them Orlando's experience of strength, unity and resilience after Pulse.
"We're proud to be able to present this quilt to them... and to let them know that they, too, are strong, that they, too, are united and that they, too, will rise from this state of grief that they're experiencing," she said. "Love always conquers hate. We're living proof of that."