'Ireland will forever be grateful' - Berkeley police department receives 'thank you' letters from Irish public
Published 19/06/2015 | 10:59
Families in Ireland have shown their support and "heartfelt gratitude" for the police department and the fire department in Berkeley following the tragic balcony collapse last Monday night.
Authorities in the California Bay area have revealed that they have received a number of mails from Ireland thanking them for their "compassion" during and following the "distressing" incident.
Berkeley Police Officer Byron White posted some of the 'thank you' letters on his Facebook page.
One family from Dublin wrote to the police department to convey their "heartfelt gratitude to all of the officers that responded to the balcony collapse which took the lives of several young Irish students and injured several more".
"While we aren't directly affected by this tragedy our hearts are broken, to have something like this happen to a child is heartbreaking, to have it happen to a child hundreds of miles from home has touched us all," the letter reads.
"It's clear from what we have seen in the media that in their time of need they were surrounded by compassion. We are also aware that behind every uniform is a person so our thoughts are also with those who responded.
"May the angels wrap their loving arms around you all and keep you safe."
Another example of how appreciative people who remain in Ireland are came in the form of letter from a "young Irish student".
"Go raibh mile maith agaibh," it begins.
"I would like to express my deepest thanks to all of the officers who assisted during the Berkeley balcony tragedy.
"The scenes must have been beyond distressing and despite your position, you are only human. I am sure that your presence during the last few months of these young people's lives must have been one comfort before slipping away and for that Ireland will forever be grateful.
"We wish you all the best and thank you for keeping so many Irish students safe every year. your work is appreciated by all of us."
Meanwhile, the families of some of the six Irish students who died after falling from a balcony in California have laid flowers at the scene before a flight to bring home the remains of five of them is due to leave on Sunday.
The parents of Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller and Eimear Walsh were expected to finally see their remains late last night - but it remains unclear if that has happened amid criticism from the Mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates, over red tape that has delayed the repatriation process.
The families are said to be exhausted but comforted by the immense solidarity shown to them by the local community in Berkeley, as well as the Irish Diaspora and the several hundred JI students who have held two separate memorials.