Edinburg Funeral Director Offers Services to Church Massacre Victims

3 years 3 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, November 07 2017 Nov 7, 2017 November 07, 2017 4:35 PM November 07, 2017 in News

EDINBURG – An Edinburg funeral director is waiting to hear how he can help victims in Sutherland Springs.

On Monday, he volunteered his services to the grieving community.

The Texas Funeral Directors Association is asking its members to volunteer to assist funeral homes in the Sutherland Springs area.

Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home Director Johnny Garcia signed up immediately. He said he sees his 25-year career as a gift.

"The reason I decided to get into the funeral business was to make a difference in people's lives. I've always believed in serving others before myself," he said.

When Garcia heard the news about the mass shooting in a Sutherland Springs church, he saw a chance to help others before himself.

"The first reaction was a whole community is suffering. It wasn't just a family, but a whole community," he told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Garcia said he can do a lot to assist the families of the victims.

"My role would be anywhere where I am actually needed. I am actually a licensed funeral director and an embalmer,” he said. “So wherever the community would need me. Whether it be for preparations of their loved ones or to actually help do the funeral services themselves. We’ll actually take a hearse, too.”

Garcia said he’s expecting to learn how he can help in the next two days.

Texas Funeral Directors Association spokesman Michael Land said the victims’ bodies are currently being held at the San Antonio Medical Examiner's office.

Land said Garcia's help may well be needed depending on demand.

"If we are called upon, we are going to be used as manpower to assist in the actual funeral services themselves," he said.

He adds there are no funeral homes in Sutherland Springs. And, in the coming days, the victims' will be sent to funeral homes in surrounding towns.  These funeral home managers will determine what service Garcia can provide.

"They are going to take a hard look at their manpower locally and they will then make a judgment call whether they need assistance," noted Land.

The association’s spokesman said the group will write up a schedule for volunteers. Some will stay up to a week, if and when a need is determined. 

Land said TFDA already sent a refrigerated trailer to the San Antonio Medical Examiner's office to house victims until they are sent to funeral homes.

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