On June 14, Republican Representatives were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game at a park in Alexandria, Virginia. Around 7 a.m., James Hodgkinson walked toward the field and started shooting at the group of Republican representatives and other individuals in attendance.
Once the police arrived on the scene, a shootout with Hodgkinson ensued. Although the shooter sustained fatal injuries during the gun fight, he had already injured six people, including Capitol Hill House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Following this event, members of Congress along with Capitol Hill staffers donated blood to show their support for Rep. Scalise and the five others who sustained injuries during this tragic event.
Bringing Democrats and Republicans Together
On June 20 and June 22, Democrats and Republicans put their differences aside to donate blood on behalf of Scalise, Capitol police officers Crystal Griner and David J. Bailey, former congressional staffer and current Tyson Foods Lobbyist Matt Mika, Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) as well as his congressional staffer, Zack Barth.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) hosted these Congressional Blood Drives, which were supported by INOVA Blood Services and the American Red Cross. The events took place in one of the buildings located within the U.S. Capitol complex. McHenry (R-N.C.) is Scalise’s chief deputy; therefore, he is acting as Whip until Scalise fully recovers.
Vice President Mike Pence was among those who demonstrated their support by donating blood. Following his donation, Pence stated in a tweet that he found it inspiring to see members of Congress and staffers come together to assist those who had been hurt during the June 14 shooting. In addition, Pence tweeted pictures of himself donating blood. Scalise extended his gratitude to Pence, via his Twitter account, for participating in the blood drive.
Additional Blood Drives Held in Honor of Scalise
Prior to becoming one of Congress’ top Republicans, Scalise served in Louisiana’s House and Senate. Therefore, despite their party affiliation, on June 16, Louisiana lawmakers took the time to donate blood in his honor.
Rep. Walter Leger III (D), who is the Speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives as well as the Representative for District 91, states that they thought the blood drive would be a good way to support Scalise and their local community.
On June 18, dozens of people came to St. Catherine of Sienna Church, Scalise’s home church in Metairie, Louisiana, to donate blood. Many donors arrived wearing purple and gold – the colors of Scalise’s alma mater, LSU.
On June 23, Archbishop Rummel High School held another blood drive: Scalise graduated from Rummel in 1983.
Scalise’s Condition Continues to Improve
Directly following the shooting, Scalise was in critical condition: The bullet entered at his hip and caused damage to several of his organs. In addition, he sustained multiple bone fractures. To address these issues, Scalise underwent numerous surgeries.
The congressman’s status was eventually downgraded from critical to serious. His health continues to improve and, according to a statement from the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, he was transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on June 22.
Americans Unite for Charity
The Congressional Baseball Game is played every year to raise money for charity. The charities that benefit from this annual event include The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and The Washington Literacy Center.
The Alexandria shooting occurred the day before the game. Game organizers state that this year’s game had a more profound meaning than previous years as Americans from all walks of life united for charity. Typically, 10,000 tickets are sold; however, nearly 25,000 game tickets were sold this year, raising more than $1.5 million for charity.
Although the Democrats beat the Republicans (11 to 2), they lent the trophy to the Republicans stating that they can hold on to it until Scalise fully recovers.
~ 1776 Christian