From tragedy comes hope

"We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things." —Isabel Allende

On Sunday, Nov. 5, a lone gunman walked into First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed 26 people while wounding 20 others. Every person attending Sunday service that day was either wounded or killed.

The shooting marked an all too familiar occurrence in the U.S., and gun control clearly has become yet another issue dividing the country.

However, once again, the roofing industry is seeking to help heal wounds and uplift survivors.

Brad Beldon, CEO of Beldon Roofing Services, San Antonio, is spearheading an effort to rebuild the church. He has formed a nonprofit foundation, Rebuilding Sutherland Springs Inc., with an independent board of directors to oversee the work and is hoping to raise $2.5 million. Beldon has set up a GoFundMe campaign to collect donations and also is accepting in-kind donations. At press time (less than a week since the campaign launched), the nonprofit group has raised nearly $1.2 million.

Beldon has received an additional $1 million in in-kind donations to assist with everything from accounting to trash removal.

"Unfortunately, we cannot rewrite history, but we can make a difference one day at a time, one person at a time," Beldon says. "After visiting with Sheriff Joe Tackitt and Pastor Collins, I decided to team up with some friends in our business community to provide First Baptist Church with a new home. We cannot erase the horrific memories, but we can provide a place of worship, a place of hope, a place of healing and a place of prayer for our fellow human beings."

The National Roofing Foundation is collecting funds on behalf of Beldon. If you are interested in making a donation, please write a check payable to The National Roofing Foundation and mail it to Jessica Priske's attention at NRCA, 10255 W. Higgins Road, Suite 600, Rosemont, IL 60018. If you are interested in making an in-kind donation, please call the Sutherland Springs Donation Hotline at (833) 360-3411.

Ambika Puniani Reid is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's vice president of communications and production.



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