Greetings….many of you may know my “little sister” Kathryn works at the National Holocaust Museum. Two weeks ago, Stephen Johns, a security guard there, was shot and killed by a very sick man. I appreciate all the calls and e-mails to ask if she was okay. She’s fine, thank God.
Please read the e-mail my sister received at work. I am asking you to consider sending the family a check. It doesn’t have to be much, $10, $20, or whatever you can send. I know it will help and I’m thinking in a small (or maybe big) way his family will see an outpouring of support that makes them smile. For every person that makes a donation, please write on a sticky note that “Marty Grunder, Kathryn’s brother, told us to send in a check.” Let me know you did this and I will send you a FREE copy of my book. That’s a great deal and we’ll make someone’s day!
Here’s the e-mail:
Dear Council Members,
There are no words to express our heartache and shock over this week’s tragic events, which took the life of Officer Stephen Johns, who died heroically in the line of duty. Officer Johns was an outstanding professional and a dedicated member of our Museum family, serving as a security officer for six years. Known for his outgoing personality and warmth, he was opening the door for an elderly individual who turned out be a hate-filled killer.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Officer Johns’ entire family, and we will be recognizing Officer Johns in several ways. The Museum has established a special fund for the benefit of Officer Johns’ family. To make an online contribution to the USHMM Officer Johns Family Fund click here. Or checks payable to USHMM Officer Johns Family Fund may be mailed to USHMM, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington DC 20024. You may also contribute by calling toll free 877-91USHMM (877-918-7466).
The loss of Officer Johns has devastated our Museum community, but we are very proud of our two security officers who responded so quickly and effectively to this incident, just as they have been trained to do, saving many lives that day. As you know, the safety of our visitors and staff has always been our highest priority.
We are also grateful for the overwhelming support and expressions of condolence we have received from you and our Museum community as well as President Obama, Congress, members of the diplomatic corps, concerned citizens and organizations across the country and around the world.
The Museum was closed on Thursday in honor of Officer Johns. But I am pleased to report that our visitors returned on Friday in full force. We had 8573 visitorsâ€”schoolchildren, families, adults, even Girl Scoutsâ€”which is far more than our average daily June visitation of 7320. Some were quoted in the media as saying they came as an act of defiance.
It is unconscionable that such an act of violence, fueled by hatred, would occur at a sacred place of memory. This incident underscores the vital importance of our Museum. The Holocaust did not begin with mass murder. It began with hate. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of indifference and unchecked hateâ€”and that each of us has a responsibility to confront it. Nothing teaches that lesson more powerfully than the Museum.
Despite our grief and outrage, our staff has returned to work with an even greater commitment to the urgency of our mission.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support, which mean so much to us, especially in this darkest hour. Sara