A new church is under construction and attendance at the First Baptist Church is up one year after a gunmen opened fire during a Sunday service on Nov. 5 killing 26 people and injuring more than a dozen church members.
Sunday, a community of residents, church members, and families of the victim's gathered for a memorial service on church grounds. Lupe Navejas traveled with her family from San Antonio to show support for her brother and sister in-law who were killed in the shooting.
"It feels like it just happen yesterday, it hasn’t been easy, it’s been hard," Navejas said.
She's leaned on her family throughout the year, keeping memories of her brother alive. A message Pastor Frank Pomeroy spoke of as part of his healing. “Life does have kinks there are parts of despair but if we choose to stay there then we are just existing we are not living," Pomeroy said. "You have to move forward and that doesn’t mean getting rid of the memories it means taking those memories and taking their influence and incorporating it into who you are in living your life.”
Pomeroy lost his daughter 14-yearold Annabelle.
Church members like Sandy Ward spent the year leaning on their faith. Joann Ward, her daughter-in law was found shielding and her granddaughter. “We will not be broken that even though terrible things happened we are going to keep going, building and continue on," Ward said.
“We’ve banned together in prayer and stuff and we put a lot of struggles a lot of things that have been said about us and miscommunication and stuff but we just keep trusting in the Lord and he’ll handle it.”
People lined up to shake Stephen Willeford's hand thanking him for his bravery. Willeford heard trouble and fired back at the gunman. he doesn't call himself a hero but advocates for security in churches and for the rest of the country to be more like Sutherland Springs.
"Be more like Sutherland Springs, be more like my community, that comes together, loves one another, knows what’s going on in other peoples lives,” said Willeford.
He handed a challenge coin to 19-year-old Zach Poston a survivor who was shot seven times and an example of how time and faith and ease wounds.