When Sean Peacock of Eastman, Georgia heard about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, he admits he had to turn off the news because it was simply too sad to fathom.
Six days later, the woodworking craftsman got a message through his Etsy store, Jass Graphix, Inc., asking if he could make a custom butterfly bench for a 10-year-old girl named Makenna. Although the woman didn’t say the word “Uvalde,” Sean knew in his gut that Makenna was one of the victims who’d lost her life on that terrible day.
A quick Google search confirmed his suspicion. He immediately reached out to the grieving mother to tell her that not only would he make the bench, he’d also give her a discount. But Sean wanted to take his act of kindness even further. There were 21 victims in Uvalde — that’s 21 families experiencing the worst pain imaginable. What if Sean could show them how much people care about their loss by giving each of them a memorial bench for their loved one?
He started a GoFundMe and shared it on his personal Facebook page, hoping to raise $20,000 for the cost of the benches. Within 48 hours, he raised more than $23,000.
“On the day of Makenna’s funeral, I texted the mother and revealed to her what I did,” Sean recalled. “I told her, ‘Your bench is paid for for your precious child, and so are 20 more.'”
For the next two months Sean and his team worked overtime to craft 21 benches. He spoke with every family to customize the benches, adding a photo of their loved one and inscriptions from the family. Normally these benches sell for $1,800 each and take about six weeks to create, but Sean worked hard to complete them in half the time.
“There’s a lot of labor that goes into this,” he said. “This is a very special, precious item in any situation.”
Members of the Uvalde community contributed prayer pillows and other items for the public memorial. When all of the benches were finished, Sean carefully transported them over 1,200 miles from Georgia to their new homes, taking time to sit and talk with the families too.
Reverend Tyler Kirkley is pastor of Lakeside Assembly of God, where Peacock is a member. He held a prayer service over the benches before they were delivered to bless the families as they grieve their losses.
“My prayer, my hope is that love will make a difference, and when they sit on these benches, they’ll be reminded of a love that can change the world,” said Rev. Kirkley.
Sean truly went above and beyond to forge a connection with these families. His beautiful craftsmanship will provide a lasting tribute for lives cut short too soon.
Share this story to thank Sean for his hard work and empathy.
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