This story has been updated.
The head of the Navy called for all personnel to “come together as a family” in light of the shooting as the Washington Navy Yard Monday, and the department set up several avenues for assisting employees in coping with the tragedy.
The Navy established an “emergency family support task force” to assist victims, workers and families with issues related to the shooting. Vice Adm. Bill French, commander of the Navy’s Installations Command, will lead the task force.
The task force has set up a call center at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and provided several phone numbers for affected individuals to call. In-person counseling will also be available, according to a Navy spokeswoman. The department has deployed family services counselors and chaplains. All services are provided free of charge.
“We will come together as a family to deal with this,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a video message. “If you were at the Navy Yard today, if you had a friend or a loved one or just as a part of the Navy family, if you need assistance in dealing with this … Please call 800-222-0364 and someone will help you work through this awful, awful event.”
A private group also offered to help the families of the victims in Monday’s shooting. The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund announced Tuesday it “stands ready to assist the families of the fallen civilian federal employees, should any have acute financial needs in the coming days and weeks.”
The fund has recently run into financial difficulties, forcing it to suspend its no-interest loan program to furloughed civilians. FEEA asked for donations to help the families, as well as other federal employees in need.