OUR VIEW: Town stands tall in face of tragedy

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:00 pm on Friday, September 20, 2013

In the face of tragedy, Belding and its surrounding communities demonstrated during the past few days what is truly special about where we live. The willingness — without hesitation — of dozens of community members to drop everything to help look for Devon Morrison, 10, who didn’t come home Saturday night.

Many of the folks who combed riverbanks and fields and neighborhoods knew him, his family, his friends. But many did not. They just wanted to be part of the effort to find this little boy alive. On Monday, that hope was lost when his body was found in the Flat River, where he had been fishing during the day on Saturday. News spread quickly and hearts were heavy, but there was gratitude, too, that at least he was found and that part of the mystery was solved.

As we watched this story unfold, we were struck with the compassion, professionalism and control maintained throughout the search by the Belding Police Department, led by Chief Dale Nelson, who personally knew Devon. It is fortunate that these kinds of tragic events do not happen often in our area, but we know that all of our law enforcement departments train for them.

The Belding Police Department did a remarkable job controlling the situation in their town. Chief Nelson did an especially outstanding job not only guiding the crowd of volunteers who showed up to assist, but also the pack of media who arrived to report the story. He orchestrated efforts among reserve officers, FBI, rescue teams. He was well composed and spoke freely during a number of press conferences in which he offered factual information, as well as a personal point of view. Through it all, he also helped keep the fear some were feeling from bubbling over.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Devon Morrison. But we also are heartened to know we are under the watch of such a top-notch law enforcement agency.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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