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Man working in Sutherland Springs: "I sat down and cried" - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Man working in Sutherland Springs: "I sat down and cried"

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Instead of packages, a UPS worker is now delivering condolence cards and flowers to Sutherland Springs. Instead of packages, a UPS worker is now delivering condolence cards and flowers to Sutherland Springs.
John Barnhill has been making deliveries in the small Texas town for 7 years and has become part of the community. John Barnhill has been making deliveries in the small Texas town for 7 years and has become part of the community.
Barnhill knew almost all of the victim's in the mass shooting, including the Holcombe family. Barnhill knew almost all of the victim's in the mass shooting, including the Holcombe family.
Now the flowers he delivers to survivors and family members get reactions of both smiles and tears. Now the flowers he delivers to survivors and family members get reactions of both smiles and tears.
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS -

As the survivors of Sunday's mass shooting, the family members of those killed, and the Sutherland Springs community all just begin to process their immeasurable loss, help continues to pour into the small town in from across the country. 

Ordinary people are doing some extraordinary things to help the people of Sutherland Springs in this difficult time. 

Federal  agencies are on the ground working, as the Red Cross and chaplains support family members of the victims. Yet in such a tragic scene, even completing a day of work can be heart wrenching.

It is especially true for one man who knew almost all of the shooting victims. 

After seven years of making deliveries, UPS worker John Barnhill has become a part of Sutherland Springs. 

"I pretty well know everybody here," he said. 

So Barnhill was stunned when he learned that the tight-knit community was the target of a mass shooting. 

"I sat down and cried at home, I really did. I'm a hard man. But that got me," Barnhill said. 

And when he heard the victims' names, he knew almost ever single one of them. Including the Holcombe family, who lost 8 people and an unborn baby. 

"Amazing people. God given people," Barnhill said about the Holcombes. "They didn't know a stranger, none of them knew a stranger. And the mother that passed away that had the baby. Just a sweet family all the way around."

Now Barnhill has substituted packages with deliveries of condolence cards and flowers. When he brings the bouquets to family members of the victims, there are very powerful reactions. 

"A lot of them would smile when you walk in, and then some of them would break down in tears. It's like, wow," he said. 

Barnhill is not the only one sharing pieces of love and symbols of support with Sutherland Springs. Many chaplains from Church At Work have traveled in from out of town, lending an ear to anyone who wants to talk and process their grief. 

"We want our presence to be seen, and maybe some people aren't comfortable talking to chaplains, that's okay. We don't push ourselves on anybody," chaplain Gerriane Waring said.

Red Cross volunteers have also been in the area since Sunday, offering therapy to the family members of the victims in America's most deadly church shooting. 

"It's a different experience than responding to a typical natural disaster," Bristel Minksker, with the Red Cross, said. "It's all about the human connection. We're really just here to support the impacted community, and help empower them to support each other."

In the broken community, these people and many others are offering up their help, hoping their is a way to work towards mending. 

"You bond as one," Barnhill said. "You have to stay together. and let God take care of it."

A victims donation fund has been set up, and there will be several benefits in upcoming days. The River Oaks Church is organizing those benefits in the community. 

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