ASU President shares D.C. concerns - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ASU President shares D.C. concerns

Shields Shields
Shields Shields
Portia Holmes Shields Portia Holmes Shields

October 23, 2002

Albany - We're nearly 800 miles from Washington, D.C., but some South Georgians are still worried about the safety of their family and friends. That's the case for Albany State University President Portia Holmes Shields whose family lives in the D.C. area.

It's homecoming week at ASU. The minds of students are focused on Saturday's big game against Clark Atlanta University. But, President Shields finds herself worrying about her family.

"I call my family every night just to hear their voices and see how they are protecting themselves," said Shields. She is originally from Washington, D.C..

Her son Craig, his wife and their two children, five-year-old Devin and three-year-old Nicole, live just miles away from the shooting site at Rockville, Maryland.

"My granddaughter told me her mother wasn't her friend. When I asked her why, she said because her mother wouldn't let her go outside to play. I quickly said that's because your mother is your best friend."

Joe, another one of Shields' sons, also lives in Maryland with his 15 year-old son Aaron. "Aaron has always trusted adults. Now, he questions why the police haven't found the sniper. He wonders if smart people like the police can't find the killer, how can they keep him safe. It's really scary."

The sniper has turned her family into prisoners of their homes. "My grandchildren don't go outside and play. My son does all the grocery shopping and crotches down in his car when he gets gas. My daughter-in-law temporarily quit work to stay with her children during the day."

Normal life is a thing of the past for the Shields family and for millions living in the area, at least until the sniper is caught. Shields hopes the tragic events in Washington, D.C. will remind South Georgians of the importance of family and friends.

Posted at 5:00 PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com