COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — In the week since the mass shooting at a Collierville Kroger, we’ve seen light in the midst of the darkness. People have shown kindness and support for the community, including one 11-year-old boy.
For Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane, the memories are ones filled with adrenaline and urgency. As he and other first responders rushed to provide aid, the memories are also ones that show the true meaning of humanity.
“Even on that day, we saw our chaplains from three different churches that were on that parking lot praying for people,” Lane said.
Driving around Collierville you’ll find messages of hope. Passionate people welcomed all with open arms and a community is stronger now, more than ever before.
“Many times, the intent on these things is to divide and hurt people. And yet when we saw the worst of humanity, but we’ve also seen the best,” Chief Lane said.
The best is found in people like Conner Underwood.
The above photo shows the 11-year-old and his brother, selling lemonade to raise money for another child so the 7 year old could make it to church camp.
This shows you who Conner is, but there’s more to it.
“Every night before I go to bed I pray and that’s what makes me happy the most,” Conner said.
Perhaps, his love for God is what brought these two, Conner and Chief Lane, together. They’re bound by Bible verse Joshua 1:9.
Conner watched the news about what happened at his towns Kroger. He was touched, especially by Chief Lane.
“I just felt like I needed to help him because he’s the chief and he has a lot of stuff on his mind other than this and I knew he was the main guy so I just wanted to help him the most,” Conner said.
By help, he means what the two have most in common: their faith.
This week, Conner decided to spend extra time in school, writing a letter. He had no idea would have such an impact.
“I know that the big shooting was really scary for you, but God is with you and so am I,” Conner wrote in his letter. “I will be praying for you and your family if you ever are in a bad position in life and you need encouragement. Read Joshua 1:9. Yes, it is a bible verse, and yes, it will help.”
Conner walked that letter into the police department to personally hand to Chief Lane. Conner
asked if the chief if he could pray for him.
“Just help Chief Lane to just stay strong, help all the other police officers stay strong, just let this world know they can do all the bad stuff but god is still bigger and stronger,” Conner said as he prayed.
Chief Lane was surprised when he opened the letter. He said, “I got upstairs, read the letter and just, uh, was touched.”
With a little over 100 words, the letter left Chief Lane with only a few left to say.
“I get emotional about it now,” Chief Lane said. “I can tell you there are two or three lines in there I can go right to. But I felt like, if it encouraged me that much, what would it do for other people?”
The police department posted the letter to social media and it has now touched even more people.
“What the enemy means for evil, God can turn it into good. That’s exactly what happened no matter your circumstance,” Chief Lane said.
“Be strong and courageous and like the chief said, the devil’s going to try to make this world bad, but Jesus can do everything that really is out there so just stay strong,” Conner said.
Just as Chief Lane won’t forget September 23, 2021, he won’t forget September 27, 2021, or the letter that changed everything, signed Conner Underwood.