As the one-year anniversary of a shooting rampage in Omaha’s Von Maur store approaches, the retailer is offering lapel pins remembering the event, with all proceeds going to Omaha/Council Bluffs charities. Megan Hakes, spokeswoman for the Davenport-based chain, says the pins go on sale today in all Von Maur stores.
Hakes says, "In remembrance of those who were injured or lost during the tragic events that occurred last December, Von Maur has designed gold-colored ribbon-shaped pins and they simply state "We Remember." Eight people were fatally shot by 19-year-old Robert Hawkins inside the store at Westroads Mall on December 5th, 2007. Hawkins also killed himself.
An Iowan was among those killed — 65-year-old John McDonald of Council Bluffs. Four shooting victims survived, including Fred Wilson, who was critically hurt. Wilson, a retired Council Bluffs teacher, worked at the store’s customer service counter.
Hakes says the sale of these pins is part of the continued healing process. She says, "To stand a symbol for how the community continues to remember and support the memories of those who were so tragically effected that day but also to serve as a vision of hope." Hakes says all profits from the sale of the pins will go directly to three organizations that helped immediately after the tragedy and continued to help for months afterwards.
Hakes says, "They will be available throughout our store for $10 and that entire $10 per pin will be donated to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the United Way." The pins will be available through the holiday season at all 22 Von Maur stores in Iowa, Nebraska and seven other states. The first Von Maur store opened in Davenport in 1872.