Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker has issued a statement following the Tuesday night plane crash which claimed the lives of four people. One was a Hattiesburg resident, the other victims were from Texas on their way to see a relative graduate at USM.
Mayor Barker’s statement reads as follows.
Today, we grieve.
Last night around 11 p.m., the lives of two families changed forever when a small civilian aircraft crashed into a house in the Irene Chapel Neighborhood and claimed the lives of four.
One family is a beloved part of our city workforce. We mourn the loss of Gerry Standley with his wife Melinda and their family, those in his faith community, his co-workers at Warren Paving and all who knew him and called him a friend.
The other family includes a student at Southern Miss, who should be getting ready to face the next chapter of her life and all of the celebrations that come with college graduation today.
Both families live miles apart from each other, but today – they will both be walking the same road as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.
To the families of all involved: while we cannot bear the full impact of this tragedy for you, know that we feel the loss deeply with you.
To our community- both the city as a whole and to Southern Miss: we know hardships, heartbreak and tragedy.
Time after time, resilience has pushed our city forward to pick each other up when we’re down, hurting, tired or frustrated. And friends, there are parts of our community today who are down, hurting, tired and frustrated.
Over the next several days and weeks, I ask that you continue to think and pray for all involved. Additionally, I ask that you also pray for the first responders who were on the scene last night into the early hours of today. They wrestled for hours through debris and wreckage to search and recover.
I also ask that if you need help processing through this tragedy and grief, please seek it out.
Our partners at Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources will be in the Irene Chapel Neighborhood through Friday at Edwards Street Fellowship Center, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Students, your Southern Miss family also has resources available to you. Student Counseling Services (SCS) is available and can be reached at 601-266-4829 during regular business hours and on weekends at 601-606-4357.
Whether you need guidance, resources, mental health support or just someone to talk to – please call or visit them.