Passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight penned messages of love and support to Lewiston after they learned that a fellow passenger was a volunteer with the National Crisis Response Canines and was on his way to help first responders and victims of last Wednesday’s mass shooting.

Andy Garmezy, a volunteer with the National Crisis Response Canines, was on the Southwest Airlines Flight 1843 with his therapy dog Cooper when he was asked to use the plane’s public address system to read messages written by passengers, who were praying for the 18 people who were killed in the mass shooting.

“Well, this has to be a first where a passenger is taking over the intercom,” Garmezy announced, thanking the captain and his crew for the opportunity to address the passengers. More than 70 people wrote messages on airline napkins and pieces of paper, Garmezy said.

@felishaleesphotography Aboard my Southwest flight home, words of love and encouragement were given by flight passengers and members for the victims of the Lewiston. It was an emotional experience for everyone onboard flight 1843. Thank you L.L. Bean for activating the National Crisis Response Cainine. My heart aches for Maine and for everyone affected. We love you Maine. Stay strong Lewiston. #llbean #southwestairlines #southwest #maine #lewistonmaine #nationalcrisisresponsecainine ♬ I Wanted to Leave – SYML

“In a world where there seems to be no love, know that Southwest Airlines Flight 1843 is full of people praying for all the families that went through this horrific act of pain. Love and prayers for all those in Lewiston, Maine,” one passenger wrote.

After reading the messages, passengers erupted with a round of applause. Garmezy’s presentation was filmed by another passenger and posted on TikTok.

Garmezy told passengers that his visit to Lewiston was requested by L.L. Bean, the Maine retailer whose flagship store and offices are located in Freeport.

“This is our fifth mass casualty deployment to help first responders and victims,” Garmezy said. “We never self-deploy. We are always requested.”

Garmezy and Cooper visited the Robb Elementary School community in Uvalde, Texas, last year after a former student fatally shot 17 students and two teachers. Seventeen people also were injured.

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