DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) – DeSoto Parish might be a large rural area, but it's proving to be a close-knit community in the wake of the double murders near Keatchie on Sunday.
At Logansport Elementary, the connections are both personal and professional. "I taught both of her girls," says 5th grade teacher Lori Russell. Their mother, Virginia Knight, has taught pre-K at the school for more than 20 years. "I cannot imagine what she's going through and how she's going to have to deal with it."
In the wake of Knight's daughters' sudden and violent deaths, fellow faculty and staff are seeking ways to support their friend and co-worker. "There's not really a whole lot that we feel like that we can do," says Logansport Elementary Assistant Principal Jan Greer. "Donating or giving food or something like that just makes us feel like that we're maybe helping her in some way."
In addition to plenty of prayers, food and phone calls, they're planning fundraisers and already have a raffle under way to raise money to go toward funeral expenses and support for the children. But it's not just the school. It's the entire community. Donation jars have appeared on local store counters. Accounts have been set up for the family at two local banks.
"I mean that's the way we come together," says Heather English, Relationship Banker at the Logansport branch of Capital One. "If one of us hurts, we all hurt. And it just quickly became, "Let's do something." And we've had people coming in left and right making deposits, asking 'What else can we do?'"
"One of the first things usually when dealing with grief is we want to help," explains Mamie Bush, a counselor at Logansport Elementary. "We all want to get in there and make it O.K." Bush says there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to interact with someone experiencing such grief, but she says just being there and being a good listener can go a long way. "I think what gets all of us through these tough times are the love, concern, support of our friends." That goes for the surviving family members, as well as those struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
Counselors are available at Logansport Elementary for both students and staff. The superintendent's office has made extra counselors available if necessary. Greer says a counselor has also visited the children's home to offer support.
Donations can be made at any Capital One banking location. There, the account name has been set as "The Virginia Knight Account."