ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- Two years ago today, a gunman driving through Midland and Odessa killed 7 people and wounded 25 others. It was a day this community will never forget.
For Medical Center Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Russell Tippin, it was his fourth day on the job when chaos rang out. It was his fourth day when he addressed the community for the first time, and healthcare workers inside his hospital cared for the wounded. And now, he is looking back on that day.
“Our hearts still ache. I know we all think about the families that lost loved ones,” Tippin said. “There were miracles in there too, there were people who survived. But I still think it’s a wound that’s going to take a long time for the City of Odessa to heal over.”
Tippin said he is thankful for everyone who stepped up that day to take care of a city overcome with fear, confusion, and grief.
“I can tell you, the first responders, the police, everybody that responded to that to stand in harm’s way to protect our community, we’re thankful for them. We all worked in harmony that day. It’s cool to see how we can all function as one in a crisis, it was a huge, awful time in our city, that you saw the good come out, we know that good rises from evil, and there were some good things that happened,” Tippin reflected.
Moving forward, Tippin said it’s important to never take life for granted.
“It’s a day I will never, ever, ever forget…personally, professionally. It’s just one of those days you have to reflect on. And you have to live every minute of your life, where nobody’s guaranteed their next breath, you have to hold on to every second,” he said.
Now the City of Odessa is honoring victims with yellow ‘Odessa Strong’ flags placed around Memorial Garden Park. The flags will remain up the rest of the week.