Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department helps survivors fire
“The firefighters did everything they could to help us,” said Oscar Orona, whose son survived the shooting. “I will never forget everything they did for us.”
UVALDE, Texas – The Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department has launched a modest effort to help survivors of the Uvalde shooting and their families. Now, with substantial help from across the country, these survivors are calling it a “godsend” in their time of need.
There is no greater pain than the families of the 21 people killed in Uvalde continue to endure. Absolutely none. But for survivors, their own version of misery endures.
“When he walked into the classroom he said you were all going to die and he just started shooting people,” Samuel Salinas told ABC News in the days immediately following the shooting at Robb Elementary. . He was in room 112 and was hit in the leg by shrapnel.
“He shot my teacher, then he shot the kids,” he said.
“It’s just overwhelming to understand what my 10-year-old son has been through. It’s very heartbreaking for me,” his father Christopher Salinas told ABC News this week. “He’s still in pain. He’s still struggling to get back to normal. So it’s just an ongoing part for me too, you know, getting the special help he needs.”
ABC News reporters continue to follow these families to Uvalde. Including Noah Orona who survived being shot in the back.
“It’s difficult for me because I know how he was before compared to what he is now,” said his father Oscar Orona.
Khloie Torres was also a survivor of Room 112.
“No parent wants to hear you know, the things that a 10-year-old child must have witnessed that day,” his father Ruben Torres Jr. told ABC News.
And the Uvalde Fire Department, a volunteer service with just three paid staff, was also listening to their struggles.
“And we noticed that the injured were kind of being left behind,” said Lt. Patrick Williams, chairman of the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department.
Because as financial support poured in to Uvalde, survivors and their hospital visits, their physical and emotional therapy sometimes took a back seat.
“We mourn the loss of all those poor innocent children who lost their lives,” said Oscar Orona. “And I say ‘we’, the survivors, have to deal with the consequences of what our children went through, what they went through.”
“And you know we’re the forgotten ones. I hate to use that term. We mean no disrespect to the families who lost their kids. But our kids kind of got lost in the shuffle.”
“For those who lost loved ones, they couldn’t function for the next few weeks, months without working and bringing in income. But the same was happening for the injured,” Lt. Williams said.
So the volunteer fire department started their own fundraising effort and were able to raise over $4,000 each for 15 different families. But then, when other private and corporate donors joined in the effort, each of those 15 families received more than $15,000 each.
Parents say the money has allowed them to take time off work and focus on their children’s physical and emotional recovery.
“It’s been an extremely huge blessing,” said Ruben Torres Jr. “And having those funds has been a blessing.”
“The firefighters did everything possible to help us,” added Oscar Orona. “I will never forget everything they did for us.”