A memorial is growing outside of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. One of the people honored in that memorial is Annabelle Pomeroy, the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife Sherri were out of town for Sunday’s service, which churchgoers say is rare. Pastor Pomeroy returned home on Sunday night to the worst news of his life, that his daughter and so many of his fellow church members were gone.
“We’ve had a long night with our children and grandbabies that we have left,” Pastor Pomeroy said at a press conference on Monday.
“As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family yesterday,” said Sherri Pomeroy, Annabelle’s mother.
“She always had a giant smile on her face, always happy, very outgoing, and just very fun,” said Amber Holder, Annabelle’s history. “She was a very very happy person. And it’s never going to be the same without her.”
Just last week, Pastor Pomeroy’s sermon mentioned spending quality time riding his motorcycle with his now-late daughter.
“Annabelle has been wanting to ride with me and go here and there,” Pastor Pomeroy said in the sermon. “The bike was showing 34 degrees today and she was a trooper. She did not complain. She sat there behind me and rode. She rode and we had a good time coming, and it was a beautiful ride. It was a little chilly but, watching the sun come up, the sun was just coming up as we were riding down 467 and we saw the sun start to break over.”
Like many in the community, Janie Morales has attended the pastor’s services several times and knows the family.
“Really sad to hear what happened,” she said. “We’re here to help them any way we can.”
So many have already offered to help. Flowers from across the country have been delivered to the church. And monetary donations for funerals are growing.
The Pomeroys say that while they’re grieving, their father, and knowing Annabelle was surrounded by love, is getting them through.
“We lost more than Belle yesterday,” Sherri said. “One thing that gives me a sliver of hope is that Belle was surrounded by her church family that she loved fiercely.”