As shooting victims are laid to rest, community grows closer

Today, Richard and Therese Rodriguez were remembered at Grace Bible Church in La Vernia. People in the area will always remember those killed in the deadly massacre last Sunday.

 

Richard and Therese Rodriguez were remembered at a funeral service at Grace Bible Church in La Vernia Saturday.

 

They are just two of the victims killed in Sunday’s shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

 

Deputies, constables and first responders from agencies across south Texas arrived four hours before the funeral, preparing for an overflow crowd.

The parking lot of the church filled to capacity quickly, with some parking across the street.

 

The funeral service was closed to the media, so KENS 5 spoke with people who came to support a nearby fundraiser for the community about how their lives have changed and what they will do to keep the memory of those who were lost alive.

 

Martin Balcom said even though he did not know the couple, he believes the way people have responded has been positive.

 

“It’s going to bring the community closer I think,” Balcom said, adding that he has met many good people in the days since the attack.

 

Sandra Suggs said she was working in one of the hospitals that treated some of the injured.

 

 “It’s made me look at life differently and every day counts and every interaction counts.  You must greet people and leave them with kindness,” Suggs said.

 

Suggs said she believes the attack and its aftermath will have a lasting impact on the community.

 

“All we have to do is keep showing love and compassion to people.”

Mary Most invested her day in volunteering at an Adkins barbeque for the victims.

 

“Everyone is trying. Everyone wants to do something, you can’t help but be impacted,” Most said.

 

Most said from the grocery store to the beauty shops “somebody knows someone who was affected.”

 

Frank Ramirez said thinking about the attack produces a strong emotional response but “The outpouring of love has been incredible.”

 

Ramirez said “Moving forward I think it strengthens our beliefs as we come together as a community and a society.  We need to look after each other and look up to one another and not let anyone fall through the cracks.”

 

Ramirez said he hopes prayers will turn to action.

 

“I think it will encourage people to step up to the plate to prevent things like this from happening again,” Ramirez said.

 

Most said she too has felt an increase in faith.

 

“Definitely, it was already strong, but the way everyone has reacted, it makes you believe God is good.”

 

Suggs added “God wins! Jesus wins!  We win!”

 

The Rodriguez couple was laid to rest in the tiny Sutherland Springs Cemetery, where Wednesday, nine members of the Holcombe family will join them.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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