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Harriett "Hattie" Stretz was a familiar face in the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach area before Oct. 12 thanks to her volunteerism and community involvement. Tragically, the 73-year-old became known nationally after that date as the sole survivor among people who were shot inside Salon Meritage. Stretz was getting her hair done by her daughter, Laura Webb Elody, who would be among that afternoon's eight fatalities.
In the open letter that follows, Stretz and her husband thank the community--especially first responders and hospital staff--and vow to get back "out and about" again.
Since the events of October 12th in Seal Beach we have been the grateful recipients of an abundance of love and support from our family, friends and community. You have taken us under your protective wing and provided us with a physical, emotional and spiritual blanket that has allowed us to begin the process of healing; your love will never be forgotten. The sheer number of blessings and number of people giving them makes it impossible for us to thank you individually; you know who you are. So please, for the time being, accept this very simple but heart-felt "group thank you"!
We feel a need to specifically thank the four men who bravely secured the salon and provided initial aid as well as to each member of the first responder teams. We also deeply appreciate the men and women of the many police departments, especially those in Seal Beach; and to the members of our Los Alamitos Police Department who gave of their personal time to assure our safety and comfort. Finally, there is no better Trauma Center than that at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. From those who made certain that our surroundings were clean, to the nurses and doctors, and up through administration we were treated with the only highest level of care, compassion and understanding.
We have enjoyed our involvement with our many friends and community organizations. We look forward to that continuing. With your sustained prayers and a little time it will not be long before you see us "out and about" once again.
Hattie & Tom Stretz