A Lafayette hospital on Thursday sent pizzas to the Oregon hospital caring for victims of a community college gunman in what’s now at least the third iteration of a pay-it-forward pizza chain by hospitals experiencing the aftermath of a mass shooting.
Just as a Waco, Texas, hospital sent pizzas to Lafayette General Medical Center’s emergency room within hours of the July 23 theater shooting, the Lafayette hospital sent 10 pies to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon, “as soon as we heard,” LGMC spokesman Daryl Cetnar said.
“We were hoping that we would never have to pay it forward. And unfortunately, we did,” Cetnar said Friday.
Mercy Medical Center treated the 10 wounded at Umpqua Community College on Thursday when a gunman opened fire there, killing nine before he died in an exchange with police officers, according to media reports.
The shooting comes a little more than two months after two women were killed and nine people injured at The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, when an Alabama gunman opened fire during an evening showing of the comedy “Trainwreck.”
Alan Luker, a spokesman for Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco, Texas, said the hospital sent pizzas to Lafayette in the same spirit as someone who sent pizzas to the Waco emergency room on May 17. Staff that night treated the 18 injured in a shootout involving rival biker groups and police outside a Twin Peaks restaurant, an incident that left nine dead.
It’s unclear whether the chain began prior to that shooting. Those at the Waco hospital with direct knowledge of the pizza donation were unavailable on Friday afternoon.
“It was a gesture that I know touched a lot of people at (the Lafayette) facility,” Cetnar said, “because it was just a show that someone else was thinking about us, and they were concerned, and they were giving us their best well wishes in a time of tragedy.”
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.