Members of the Dixon community are showing support for one another one day after a gunman opened fire at Dixon High School. From signs that say “Go, Dixon” appearing on lawns, to businesses opening their doors to students, residents plan to remain Dixon Strong.
“We’re a strong community,” said Gina Battaglia, who works at Sow Belly’s on Peoria Avenue. “We’re a family.”
Residents are unified in the hopes that the community will recover from the trauma of the event.
Battaglia has seen a steady flow of customers providing support to one another, while some are still coming to grips with how narrowly their small community came to avoiding a large scale tragedy.
“We watch out for each other, we support each other. We are close. Everyone knows everyone and 100 percent, we will recover,” she said.
Montana Myers owns the Traditional Wellness Center on First Street and is offering students a place to stay during the day. He hopes they will talk with one another and work through their emotions together.
“It’s really giving them a place to sit and stay and hang out and realize, sometimes it’s better to talk instead of trying to keep all of your emotions and everything bottled in,” he said.
As community members continue to post positive messages throughout the community, residents say they are thankful the situation didn’t turn out worse.
“People have each other’s back in this community,” said Travis Mansell. “I think it speaks strong that people will do what they need to do to push past this almost-tragedy.”
Dixon High School students will return to class on Friday.
District officials say there will be a heightened police presence at all Dixon schools for the rest of the school year.