An old woman who shall remain anonymous arrived in Uvalde, Texas, early this morning, driving a 2009 Ford with high mileage and bad tires. She had a backseat full of flowers. She drove a long way.

The woman placed flowers on the crosses recently erected in memory of the 21 killed in the Robb Elementary shooting. She came all the way from Pittsburgh to be here.

“It was about 1,530 miles,” she wrote to me.

When I asked why she traveled this far, she answered, “Because I want to help.”

Meantime, other helpers invaded Uvalde. Some of the first ones came in the form of dogs. That’s right. Canines.

Lutheran Church Charities sent comfort dogs to Uvalde, to help those undergoing trauma. The animals are trained to bring comfort in crises and have been present in the aftermath of many mass shootings.

Such as Sandy Hook in 2012. A dog named Howe was at a community center only days after the shooting in Sandy Hook. Immediately, a little boy curled up next to Howe and whispered into the dog’s ear. People standing nearby were weeping when they saw this. They said it was the first time in four days the boy had spoken.

And he spoke to a dog.

Eight of the LCC’s golden retrievers were dispatched to Uvalde County. They are Cubby and Devorah, Miriam, Abner, Elijah, Gabriel, Joy and Triton.

While the dogs were busy lending their support, a woman I will call Angie, a nurse, former paramedic, and soldier, sent me an email:

“Yesterday, I wanted to drive to Uvalde and do something, but there really isn’t a job for an arthritic lady like me. So I ordered a bunch of pizzas and had them delivered to the Uvalde Police Department. I hope first responders at least nibbled on something.”

At the same time, across town, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center set up a blood drive in Uvalde. Texans came out of the wallpaper to donate.

The lines outside donation centers were hours long. On an average day, the blood center doesn’t collect enough blood to say grace over. By yesterday morning, 1,500 people across Texas had donated blood.

One man drove three hours from Austin. Another older couple drove from Oklahoma City. A man named Pete drove 65 miles to give blood in Uvalde. Pete’s granddaughter survived the school shooting.

“It’s the least we can do,” said Pete. “Provide a little service for somebody.”

Meanwhile, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed helpers who were on the scene two hours after the shooting. The chaplains were even asked to deliver death notices to some of the victims’ families along with law-enforcement officials.

“As a father of four young children, my heart is heavy…” said Josh Holland, team director. “We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to comfort people, listen, and cry with them, and share God’s love…”

There are hundreds more helpers inundating the city like veritable tidal wave. Kroger donated $300,000 toward food. San Antonio grocery chain H-E-B is donating $500,000 to the community, administering meals and supplies.

Average Joes and Josephines are showing up with barbecue trailers and coolers, donating food to anyone who needs it.

Throngs of ordinary people around the nation are calling Uvalde restaurants and offering to pay for meals for victims’ families and first responders.

Said Rosemary Flores, owner of Sunrise Restaurant, “People are calling from Idaho, Ohio, Wisconsin, and even Canada. I don’t know how they got my number, but it’s okay.”

Something else. Funeral homes in the community are offering to lay the victims to rest at no cost. The Hillcrest Funeral Home and the Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary are waiving funeral fees.

The average American funeral costs around $8,000. For small mom-and-pop funeral homes, this is a big deal. Their donations add up to about $170,000 in combined funeral fees.

Moreover, this offer comes amidst a crisis of funeral supplies issues in Uvalde. This is a small town, funeral homes don’t have inventory for mass burials. In an average year, local funeral homes handle maybe six or seven funerals for children. Nobody was prepared for this.

So mortuaries from other communities have offered to help.

“We have gotten calls from other funeral homes offering their assistance,” said Monica Saiz-Martinez, who works for Hillcrest. “The love and support from all over is healing and helpful in so many ways right now. It is just unbelievable.”

There are more stories like these. Too many to tell. So I’ll close here by telling you about a guy named Fred McFeely Rogers. A man who once said this:

“My mother always said, ‘Look for the helpers.’ There will always be helpers, on the sidelines. That’s why I think, if news programs could make a conscious effort of showing rescue teams, of showing medical people, or anybody who is coming into a place where there’s a tragedy, be sure they include that. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.”

And right now, I desperately need to believe there is.

68 comments

  1. Mary B. Farmer - May 28, 2022 7:23 am

    The generosity of Texans and other folks is overwhelming at a time like this.
    May God Bless America and these Texans who have lost loved ones in such a senseless act of violence. 🙏🙏❤️❤️

    Reply
  2. oldlibrariansshelf - May 28, 2022 7:24 am

    Thank YOU, Sean, for helping us through this.

    Reply
    • Michael and Sandra Lauer - May 28, 2022 9:37 am

      Let us all remember this; “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”.

      Reply
      • Melanie Herr - May 28, 2022 1:43 pm

        “This little light of mine, let it shine!” If we each add a flicker of our candle light reflection – the world becomes so amazingly bright reflecting our God! Shine one with your flicker!

        Reply
  3. Ronald Blankenship - May 28, 2022 9:19 am

    I love your articles. I look forward to reading them every day. Thanks for all you do

    Reply
  4. Michael and Sandra Lauer - May 28, 2022 9:23 am

    Thank you for the uplifting stories about this tragedy. We can no longer watch the news on TV because they focus on the worst instead of the best. We all need inspiration right now instead of doom and gloom.

    Reply
  5. Ed (Bear) - May 28, 2022 10:07 am

    If all you look at is mainstream media for what’s going on with the world you stand a good chance of losing hope.

    As sad as it is, there’s a lot of disturbing and disturbed people on the planet. The mainstream news feeds on these disordered individuals. The news itself is disturbed. The mainstream news programming is aimed at a public that enjoys having terrible things to talk about at the water cooler.

    Disturbed is the word that best describes those that feed on the negative.

    There’s a natural tendency for us to want attention from others. And people with low self esteem want to hurt others and lash out for revenge from feeling dejected and rejected.

    Being alone without proper family or friends further disturbs a fragile self image. And the news focused on NEGATIVE behaviors leads the impressionable down a dark path. Violence in video games doesn’t help the impressionable either.

    Society is responsible for teaching the impressionable how to behave. Society is failing us. The news doesn’t report on the GOOD that people do and only provides a brief look at HOPE.

    We ALL need healing. None of us NEED bad news. Healing comes from good news.

    Thank you Sean for reporting on HOPE. Your writings inspire us and give us cause to believe in our fellow man.

    Reply
  6. Cindy - May 28, 2022 11:16 am

    Thanks Sean. You are one of the helpers. God bless you.

    Reply
  7. Marianne Bryan - May 28, 2022 11:32 am

    Thank you. We all needed this🙏🏻🙏🏻

    Reply
  8. Denise Walker - May 28, 2022 11:41 am

    I’m so glad there will always be helpers. They remind you of all the good in this world, and that God is still in control. God bless them all, and you for acknowledging their goodness.

    Reply
  9. imcdbw - May 28, 2022 11:44 am

    Sean, this is the news I needed to hear. Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Jennie L. Brown - May 28, 2022 11:48 am

    We also need strong gun control laws. No excuses for proliferation of guns in the hands of anyone who forks over the cash.

    Reply
    • B W Bua - May 28, 2022 3:44 pm

      And where , in Texas, was the grand Senator Ted Cruz last nite….. giving a speech to the NRA …AGAINST gun control…..!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
  11. Christine McMahon - May 28, 2022 11:50 am

    Your posts this week have been especially touching and well written. My feelings like everyone else’s are raw and so close to the surface. I wish I could meet you and your wife someday, you have a beautiful gift and share it so freely. Thank you for what you do

    Reply
  12. MaryPage Jones - May 28, 2022 11:58 am

    Thank you for showing us kindness in a world gone mad. Thank you for putting faces on each other’s children and the teachers so that they’re not just a name.

    Reply
  13. Christina Davis - May 28, 2022 11:59 am

    These people helping is where I see God. We have free will to do good, to do bad. Jesus said to be good – do good, he showed us what that meant. I just pray with all my heart that someday – when some is as troubled as the shooter was, we can identify this, help, and stop them.

    Reply
  14. Joan Burke - May 28, 2022 12:10 pm

    Please God, watch over them.

    Reply
  15. Te - May 28, 2022 12:13 pm

    Thank you for your updates on the goings-on in Uvalde. Too often all we get are prurient interviews of victims’ family by a media that act like peeping Toms of unspeakable grief – which I, thank God, have never had to suffer but which is never far from thoughts. All our hearts and souls and prayers are reaching out to these people, and we are thankful for these little vignettes. We the People are a compassionate nation. Government doesn’t honor God, but We, the People do, every day, and we are thankful for the blessings poured out on all of these devastated people. (Personally, I’d like to slap the shit out of some Uvalde law enforcement, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    Reply
  16. Brenda - May 28, 2022 12:41 pm

    Yor sre an Angel of hope reaching out in a very dark time. Thank you Sean for all the help you so freely give with generous love.

    Reply
  17. Connie - May 28, 2022 12:50 pm

    God bless you and your ministry to people like me. Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Gwen - May 28, 2022 12:56 pm

    Well done.

    Reply
  19. beachdreamer - May 28, 2022 1:02 pm

    Yes…what we all need now, especially Uvalde, is HOPE! A ray of light in the midst of the darkness this act has brought on our country. Just amazing the helpers that are out there, and more amazing is that they are not part of the mainstream news. This story will go on when it fades into the background when the next tragedy happens. God bless all those who came and still come to offer help. In so many ways. I am a dog lover and so good to hear about the LCC and their sweet loving dogs coming to help. Had not heard of them. What a comfort especially to the children❤️
    Thank you again Sean. Wish you could have a half hour every morning on the news to report what’s happening. Your words don’t change what happened …nothing can…but they can sure offer Hope so needed in the hearts of so many. God bless you and God bless Uvalde🙏🏻🇺🇸💔

    Reply
  20. Nancy Thomaston Rogers - May 28, 2022 1:09 pm

    I do too Sean, I do too.

    Reply
  21. Pat Walker - May 28, 2022 1:10 pm

    Look for the helpers..what great advice. Maybe if we concentrated on that and shared hope it would help people like this young shooter to see hope and love rather than hate and revenge.

    Reply
  22. elliemac3 - May 28, 2022 1:16 pm

    Beautiful Sean. I love your posts. I wish there was a way to donate towards your work.

    Reply
  23. Joan - May 28, 2022 1:31 pm

    Ed, above raw feelings, a very thought full comment to ponder.

    Reply
  24. Melanie Herr - May 28, 2022 1:39 pm

    You are a vital part of that HOPE working in Gods plans

    Reply
  25. vjwinton - May 28, 2022 2:10 pm

    And all Gods children said amen.

    Reply
  26. Robin - May 28, 2022 2:11 pm

    I believe God is smiling…

    Reply
  27. laurenhiker - May 28, 2022 2:22 pm

    And you are one of those helpers, Sean!

    Reply
  28. Monica Shinn - May 28, 2022 2:33 pm

    Sean: I just discovered you this morning by reading your Homecoming (Uvalde) and Helpers stories and I cried all the way through both of them. Your writing is truly beautiful, as you focus on the good, the hope and the love in each story, instead of the dark, scary and evil that is behind this recent event.
    Your name is now at the TOP of the list of my reading material and I will be sharing your name and articles with all of my friends, as I know that they will be as touched in their hearts as I have been by reading your beautifully written and up-lifting stories.
    May God bless you as you help uplift all of Uvalde and America during this very sad event, by brining forth the goodness and love that is truly surrounding this hurting community. With love… 💕

    Reply
    • Cass - May 29, 2022 4:44 pm

      I too just discovered Sean yesterday thru my Florida friend, Aggie. What a blessing and a talent for us readers.
      Praying for Upside and the parents and siblings.

      Reply
  29. Susan - May 28, 2022 2:34 pm

    You are Shepherd helping tend God’s Sheep with your wonderful messages (columns).

    Thank you for adding the forwarding link back into the column. I hadn’t been able to send your columns to friends recently.

    Reply
  30. Dale Parsons - May 28, 2022 2:52 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  31. Donna Vildibill - May 28, 2022 3:01 pm

    All that matters is the people are showing up either in person or monetarily to help these people. Thank you for conveying their stories with us.

    Reply
  32. Cathy M - May 28, 2022 3:08 pm

    You lifted your followers up today. Your message was healing and comforting. We needed that.
    I hope everyone who reads this feels as I do this morning. Hopeful. Sometimes we have to step back and let God work and it is beautiful.

    Reply
  33. Fleming Straughan - May 28, 2022 3:15 pm

    I wish you were our daily news commentator.
    I believe we would all have a better outlook on life.
    Thank you for your effort. Keep writing!

    Reply
  34. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - May 28, 2022 3:17 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  35. Jocelyn Piccone - May 28, 2022 3:31 pm

    Texans are known to come out in droves to assist. It is called survival of faith and hope. They will take care of Uvalde residents. It’s what they do.

    Reply
  36. Wayne - May 28, 2022 4:00 pm

    Hi Sean, Wayne Adkisson from Brewton. Have enjoyed your musings! Are you still performing musically? If so, would you be interested in doing so in Pensacola? Best wishes, Wayne

    Reply
  37. Jan - May 28, 2022 4:02 pm

    God uses helpers to offer hope for this broken world. May He continue to use you in this way, Sean, along with all the others who offer help and hope to the suffering throughout the world.

    Reply
  38. Steve& Laura Wenger - May 28, 2022 4:05 pm

    Acts of inhumanity and evil always seem to be offset by order of magnitude greater humanity. My faith remains strong!

    Reply
  39. Gerry - May 28, 2022 4:10 pm

    These amazing stories increase your faith in the goodness of humanity!

    Reply
  40. Wendy J Stillman - May 28, 2022 4:15 pm

    Thank you Sean. This is lovely and brings hope. I loved Fred Rogers. He too brought comfort to me as I watched his shows with my children.

    Reply
  41. pattymack43 - May 28, 2022 4:23 pm

    Thank you for today’s writing!! It is good to know that so many people are offering help. AND, for those of us who can’t do “hands-on” help or are limited financially, there is prayer. I lift the families, first-responders, and all the “helpers” up to our Lord in prayer. May He provide comfort and hope to all.

    Reply
  42. Peggy - May 28, 2022 4:51 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for providing hope!

    Reply
  43. Tim House - May 28, 2022 5:24 pm

    Amen.

    Reply
  44. Christina - May 28, 2022 5:25 pm

    That’s why we need a daily dose of good news from Sean of the South

    Reply
  45. Linda Moon - May 28, 2022 5:33 pm

    I believe Mr. Rogers’ mother was right. Like you, it’s not always so simple for me to find. But you, along with the stories of all these helpers, brought it to me just now.

    Reply
  46. Dianne Deavours Shafer - May 28, 2022 6:05 pm

    These past days, following the agony in Uvalde, you, Sean, have shared your compassion, love, sympathy as well as empathy. But more importantly, you have shared God’s great compassion and love as well. Blessings.

    Reply
  47. B.e. Blue - May 28, 2022 6:23 pm

    “The average American funeral costs around $8,000. For small mom-and-pop funeral homes, this is a big deal. Their donations add up to about $170,000 in combined funeral fees.” >>> I don’t know if the anonymous donor below was a Texan but I’m proud of him/her as well as all the actions of my fellow Texans.
    .
    (From CBS News)

    Anonymous donor to pay $175K for funeral expenses of Texas school shooting victims, Abbott says

    By Tre’Vaughn Howard

    May 27, 2022 / 9:16 PM / CBS News

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday an anonymous donor paid $175,000 for the funerals of the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. “

    Reply
  48. Patricia Gibson - May 28, 2022 6:36 pm

    Thank God for his Angels and thank him for you too, Sean❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  49. Linda Trauffer - May 28, 2022 7:00 pm

    Your last posts regarding the tragedy in Uvalde touched my heart! I would love to post them to my friends on Facebook. Is that possible?

    Reply
  50. Becky Souders - May 28, 2022 7:04 pm

    Again, Sean… thank you.

    Reply
  51. Pingback: Sean of the South: Helpers | The Trussville Tribune

  52. jachanin - May 28, 2022 7:51 pm

    There is a fabulous book called The Healing Power of Pets. Every human should read it. Hurray for the people and the pets!

    Reply
  53. Peggy M. Windham - May 28, 2022 8:23 pm

    Thank goodness there are still good people in this world!🙏

    Reply
  54. Mary Ann Gilbert - May 29, 2022 1:05 am

    Thank you for reminding us of Mr. Rogers words, to look for the helpers. And thank you, Sean, for the community of hope you share.

    Reply
  55. MaryAnn A Dunham - May 29, 2022 1:16 am

    We ALL need to believe there is hope. I have learned that God wastes NOTHING. We can’t see His plan, but He definitely has one for each of us. Terrible things happen to good people, but in some way God uses those things to refine us, and sometimes to equip us to show that with His help, we can survive such tragedies. I’ve witnessed this many times in my life. And as an elderly priest told me many years ago, “One of the best things about being a Christ follower is that we never have to say a final goodbye to our loved ones, because we’ll see them again when Jesus comes to take us to the place He has prepared for us in His Father’s house.

    Reply
  56. Sandra Mosolgo - May 29, 2022 11:19 am

    Encouragement in a dark time. Positive actions are rarely acknowledged .

    Reply
  57. Kim Morris Ladoczky - May 29, 2022 1:52 pm

    I’ll be honest, I haven’t been reading you this week. I just couldn’t. My heart is raw. Today I was compelled to open that email… He knew I needed this. To see it in black & white. Thank You for reminding me, us that the good will always rise above the evil….

    Reply
  58. johnallenberry - May 29, 2022 5:41 pm

    People often ask: where is God when there’s a tragedy. I think you’ve answered that to any reasonable person’s satisfaction right here.

    Ph.Dude

    Reply
  59. Sylvia Sykes - May 29, 2022 8:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing these “helper” stories! It does bring hope!

    Reply
  60. DENISE DeVries - May 29, 2022 8:39 pm

    Sean there is always hope. We hope fie sunny days, and they come . We hope for rain for the crops, and we get it. We hope for fiends, and we find them. We hope for heaven and it’s waiting for us. All you need o do is look and you will find hope. Faith goes hand and hand with hope for heaven. Never lose it.

    Reply
  61. Cheryl Buchanan - May 30, 2022 2:25 am

    Amen

    Reply
  62. Joe Graham - May 30, 2022 4:06 am

    I also need that hope!

    Reply
  63. Hilda Lyzette Loew - June 1, 2022 3:20 am

    The Helpers…….out of no where do they show up to be the extended hand of Jesus, let pray for them as well.

    Reply
  64. Mary Jo McIntosh - June 6, 2022 5:25 pm

    God bless and be with all the families. Grateful blessings be on all the helpers from those who cannot make the trip. Love all of you.

    Reply

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