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Sutherland Springs Community Reacts To Mass Shooting At Pittsburgh Synagogue

Pastor Frank Pomeroy, left, and his wife Sherri Pomeroy lead a prayer during Old Town Day. The couple's 14-year-old daughter Anabelle was killed in the Sutherland Springs shooting. 10/27/18
Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio
Pastor Frank Pomeroy, left, and his wife Sherri Pomeroy lead a prayer during Old Town Day. The couple's 14-year-old daughter Anabelle was killed in the Sutherland Springs shooting.

A small parade makes its ways through the streets of Sutherland Springs during the annual Old Town Day festival, a 30-year tradition. About 300 turned out for the celebration. There are floats, trucks, and motorcycles. The route includes a pass by First Baptist Church. 

One float with the town’s name carries several children including two young survivors of the shooting. Next Monday will mark one year since more than two dozen people were killed in a shooting at First Baptist Church. Twenty more were injured that day.

 

10.27.18 A color guard leading the Old Town Day parade passes by First Baptist Church. The church was the site of a mass shooting on November 5th 2017 where more than two dozen people were killed. Twenty more were injured.
Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
A color guard leading the Old Town Day parade in Sutherland Springs passes by First Baptist Church, the site of a mass shooting on Nov. 5, 2017, where more than two dozen people were killed.

Teresa Smith, president of the Sutherland Springs Community Association, said heritage and tradition should be upheld even after the tragedy on Nov. 5.

“It brings unity to everybody to know that a small community like this can still get together and enjoy a simple day of just really fellowship,” she said.

But as Old Town Day was starting, news broke about the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. First Baptist Church Pastor Frank Pomeroy led a prayer for the victims.

Frank and his wife Sherri Pomeroy, who were not in First Baptist the day of the shooting, lost their 14-year-old daughter Anabelle in the shooting. Sherri Pomery says there are good days and bad days.

“These triggers these last couple weeks have been really, really hard but I have been doing better up until now — and you happen to catch me on a bad day,” she said. “It was pretty rough at the parade — one of Annabelle’s favorites. Last week was her birthday.

“Last week … was a year ago that I saw her.”

Raffles are drawn during the 30th annual Old Town Day festival in Sutherland Springs 10/27/18
Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Raffles are drawn during the 30th annual Old Town Day festival in Sutherland Springs.

Frank Pormery said it’s the community and faith in God that keeps them, and other family members going.

“We’re still reaching onto one another — there’s still a lot of leaning onto one another,” he said. “... Many are still getting counseling and therapy but yet come back to the open arms of neighbors, and friends and people here at the church.”

He says he hopes the people in Pittsburgh will support and protect the survivors and families of victims in the synagogue shooting.

“I know what they’re going to go through,” he said. “I know what media things they’re going to go through. I know these god-forsaken truthers that are going to come and give them such a horribly hard time. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody."

Joey Palacios can be reached at joey@tpr.org or on Twitter @joeycules