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Walmart reaches out to community after El Paso tragedy

CEO Doug McMillon: ‘When the worst happens, we counter with our best’

In response to the mass shooting that killed 22 people in an El Paso Walmart store last weekend, the company announced yesterday that it is committing $400,000 in direct cash grants to support local community foundations that have set up funds for those impacted by the tragedy.

To address the urgent need of support, Walmart is providing cash donations to the El Paso Community Foundation's Shooting Victims’ Fund and Paso Del Norte Community Foundation's El Paso Victims Relief Fund. Walmart is also working closely with local officials and government entities to help meet the needs of those affected.

“Our hearts ache for El Pasoans,” said Greg Foran, president and chief executive officer, Walmart U.S. “As we work on helping our associates through this tragedy, we also want to help ensure the community has the resources it needs by providing funds to support the important work the El Paso Community Foundation and the Paso del Norte Community Foundation are doing during this difficult time. We want to support the people of El Paso every step of the way.”

In an open letter yesterday to Walmart associates, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon reiterated the company’s support for the people of El Paso, first responders, survivors and the families of victims as well as the Walmart family of store associates.

“Last week, our Walmart family suffered two separate acts of violence,” wrote McMillon, referencing El Paso and a shooting in Southaven, Miss., where a disgruntled Walmart employee shot and killed two coworkers. “It is difficult to find a word strong enough to describe the way we feel. We’re feeling a wide range of emotions — shock, anger, grief. We are also feeling gratitude for the first responders in El Paso and Southaven and proud of the way our fellow associates reacted so courageously.”

In the letter McMillon recounted acts of bravery and selflessness among the El Paso store associates, including store manager Robert Evans, “who was leaving the store and then ran back in when he heard the shots,” as well as others who helped dozens of customers to safety out the back of the store.

Pictured from left to right are store manager Robert Evans, Walmart associates Mayra Zuniga, Todd Harbaugh, Lasonya Pickard, Gilbert Serna and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

“When the worst happens, we counter with our best selves,” McMillon wrote. “We support each other, pray together, stand firm and heal together. 

“As it becomes clearer that the shooting in El Paso was motivated by hate, we are more resolved than ever to foster an inclusive environment where all people are valued and welcomed. Our store in El Paso is well known as a tight-knit community hub for people in the region, where we serve customers from both sides of the border. I continue to be amazed at the strength and resilience that we find in the diversity of the communities where we live and work.”

McMillon stressed that Walmart’s first focus continues to be responding to the situation on the ground, and helping its associates, customers and law enforcement. In addition to the commitments to the two foundations, Sam’s Club has donated food and water to the local family reunification center and three area hospitals. Walmart is also providing support for its associates through its Resources for Living program to ensure they have what they need during this difficult time.

McMillon concluded, “We are a learning organization, and, as you can imagine, we will work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence. We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities.”

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