Beldon Roofing Co., of San Antonio, is leading the fundraising effort to rebuild the site of the Texas church were a gunman killed more than two dozen parishioners earlier this month.
When the community of Sutherland Springs decided to raze the First Baptist Church — where a gunman killed 26 people and wounded 20 others in a Sunday-morning attack, company owner Brad Beldon jumped into action.
Just days after the Nov. 5 massacre, he established a non-profit organization called Rebuilding Southerland Springs Inc., and launched a GoFundMe.com page with a goal of raising $2.5 million for the reconstruction of a new church and a memorial park at or near the site. The response was overwhelming. Within a week, more than 350 individuals, small businesses and large corporations contributed $1 million combined, and that total increased to nearly halfway toward the goal at the time of publication.
“There are three places of sanctuary in Texas — police and fire stations, Friday night football games, and our places of worship. One of these was taken from us this past week. Please help our friends take it back,” Beldon wrote on the fundraising website.
In addition to the funds, several individuals and businesses have stepped forward to offer in-kind donations, including architectural designs, money management and accounting work and services performed by other skilled trades.
There are also ongoing discussions regarding a memorial for the victims at or near the site. Beldon said he aims to create a new home for the congregation at First Baptist Church that conveys hope, unity and healing.
“Let this rebuild serve as a reminder that there’s more love than hate in this world.” Beldon wrote.