Otto Warmbier’s Ohio hometown rallies around him after his return from North Korea
The Ohio hometown of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, has rallied around the 22-year-old since his homecoming, showing their support for him and his family throughout town.
Residents of the Wyoming, Ohio, a suburb north of Cincinnati, hung ribbons on trees in honor of Warmbier’s homecoming.
Alison Lebrun, center background, helps tie blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, June 13, 2017. Denise Koesterman ties blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, June 13, 2017.
The Wyoming Civic Center and a local restaurant also used their outdoor signs to express encouragement to the Warmbier family.
A restaurant shows its support for Otto Warmbier in Wyoming, Ohio, June 15, 2017. Friends and supporters of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who was released from a North Korean prison, gather together to show their support for the Warmbier family June 15, 2017 in Wyoming, Ohio.
The efforts to show support were organized through the social media accounts of private citizens who wanted a way to "show their support and love and prayer" to lift the family up, Wyoming City Manager Lynn Tetley told ABC News. No call to action was made, Tetley added.
"When situations happen like this to anyone in the community, the support from the community happens quickly, organically and quietly," Tetley said. "It’s a community where neighbors take care of neighbors.
She continued, "That is Wyoming to a tee. That’s what Wyoming is about."
Denise Koesterman, right, and Alison Lebrun, left, tie blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, June 13, 2017.
Families in the city are "very connected" since all of the students who attend Wyoming schools live in town," Tetley said.
"It is a family-focused place where people take care of each other," she said.
Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, speaks during a news conference, June 15, 2017, in Cincinnati.
On Thursday morning, Otto Warmbier’s father, Fred Warmbier, thanked the community for helping with the burden of his family’s ordeal. Fred Warmbier addressed the media from Wyoming High School, from which his son graduated.
"Otto is a fighter and we firmly believe he fought to stay alive in order to return home," Fred Warmbier said.
Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea, is taken to North Korea’s top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo March 16, 2016.
In March 2016, Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel room in Pyongyang. He arrived back in the U.S. Tuesday night after he was medically evacuated from North Korea.
Otto Warmbier is suffering from injuries related to cardiopulmonary arrest and is currently in a state of unresponsive wakefulness, doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday at a press conference.