When strife rears its head, communities must stand hand-in-hand to face it. Members of the Shippensburg community will do just that this Sunday in the face of the recent troubles that have afflicted the town.
When Shippensburg resident Chad Craig heard about the overdose of a young man in town in May, amid recent issues of bigotry at Shippensburg University and the homicide related to drugs near High Street, he decided something needed to be done. He organized an event he calls “Shippensburg United” to show that Shippensburg is one town united.
Members of the Shippensburg community will assemble at the intersection of King Street and South Earl Street, by the Shippensburg Select Diner, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Shippensburg Fire Department will sound its alarm once, then everyone present will form a human chain. The goal is to stretch from one end of town to the other, according to Craig.
The event will precede the Veteran’s Day parade on Sunday.
“Shippensburg is not known for this [the recent tragedies], so we don’t want it here and we want to show that all the residents of Shippensburg stick together as one,” Craig said.
“It raises awareness. It shows that every small community, town, city, everyone has issues… we as residents are gonna stay strong. We’re gonna be unbroken and we’re gonna stand against it and stand united.”
Craig encourages anyone in surrounding towns to come to the event as well.
“If people around us who live in other towns — Newville, Chambersburg, Carlisle — if they agree with what we’re doing and they want to support us, they’re more than welcome to come,” Craig said. “That way, everyone looks and says, ‘Look at what this little town in south-central Pennsylvania is doing to combat the negative stigma that has been put in the town.’”
Craig was born in Chambersburg and grew up on a farm in Cleversburg, outside of Shippensburg. Many members of his extended family decided that Shippensburg was the town they wanted to live in. Now, he has resolved he needs to help prepare it for future generations.
“We’re just hoping to leave a better town for future generations,” Craig said.