Hope & Healing: Veterans groups, foundation host lunch for congregation

The sun shone down on the grounds of the Lazy U Ranch as more than 100 members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs joined together and broke bread on Saturday for a special lunch.

The congregation is slowly building itself back up nearly five months after 26 church members were killed and 20 others were wounded in the Sutherland Springs shooting, in part thanks to the support of various communities and organizations such as the SS American Memorial Foundation.

The foundation, along with the Liberators MC (Motorcycle Club) of Seguin, Hope Church of San Antonio and several area veterans, hosted a lunch for the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs as an opportunity to unite the congregation.

“Our organization wanted to host a family day for them out at our location,” SS American Memorial president Craig Russell said. “It’s just showing unity and everybody being together and showing them that we’re there for them since everybody is out of the hospital now.”

Before chowing down for lunch, Hope Church performed some Christian tunes and a trio of chaplains read passages from the Bible.

“We’ve been a part of a lot of healing and recovery for the wounded warriors,” Hope Church pastor Tom Masterson said. “So it was just a natural convergence of a faith family and military community. People in both circles knew people in Sutherland Springs so it just made sense to invite them out and give them access to this place of healing.”

Shortly after, members of the Liberators MC then served home-cooked barbecue plates for every guest to enjoy.

Russell had the idea to host the event after he learned his long-time friend, David Colbath, was shot multiple times and hospitalized at Brooks Army Medical Center (BAMC) following the Nov. 5, 2017, shooting.

“I instantly put a little fundraiser together that night and sent it out to everybody on our newsletter,” Russell said. “We ended up raising $5,000, but more importantly — as time went on — I realized that my friend, along with eight others, were at Brooks Army Medical Center together.”

A group of wounded warriors and members of the SS American Memorial not only paid Colbath a visit at the hospital, but also several other victims.

“I just felt the only people that could relate to the church victims would be the wounded warriors,” Russell said. “So what I did was gather all of the wounded warriors that are affiliated from our location and I asked them if they would be willing to go to BAMC and visit with these civilians. >> read full article and see more pictures here >>


Originally posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 12:00 am

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