Chardon firefighters focus on moving forward one year after high school shooting

CHARDON, Ohio - On the one-year mark of the Chardon High School shooting, the firefighters who responded to the scene said they are focusing on moving past the tragic event.

They participated in a memorial walk, remembrance ceremony and other events being held in the town Wednesday. The firefighters also ate lunch with students at Chardon High School.

"It's time to move forward with things and I think this was a very nice thing to help that along," said Assistant Chardon Fire Chief Thomas Hummel.
"Hopefully, this will bring some closure and the community can now move forward and plan for the future," said Brian Valletto, a Chardon firefighter.

Valletto was one of the first paramedics who entered Chardon High School after TJ Lane opened fire in the cafeteria. Valletto did not want to discuss the details of his efforts to save the lives of the three students who died, but said the tragedy has brought the fire department and the town closer together.

"It was a day that I don't think anybody could ever prepare for," Valletto said.

Hummell said he and Fire Chief Larry Gaspar have worked to help their department recover from the shooting.

"The chief and I visit with the crews involved in that day on a pretty regular basis," Hummell said. "It's very important for us to make sure our crews are mentally, physical OK, getting back to what we call normal."

The firefighters also said the town's support since the shooting and the remembrance events on Wednesday have helped them cope with the tragedy.

"I grew up in this community. I went to Chardon High School. I work in this community. I love this community and it's great to see how close everybody is...  In a time of just horror," Valletto said.

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