SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio businessman is using his resources and connections to answer the call to help rebuild Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.
The Beldon Group of Companies CEO Brad Beldon reached out to the Wilson County sheriff earlier this week, offering to help repair the church for the community.
“He said ‘The building is virtually destroyed,’” Beldon said.
Beldon immediately came up with a plan B.
“He said ‘What are you going to do?’ I said, ‘I’m going to go build a new church,’” Beldon said. “He looked at us like we had three heads. He said ‘You're going to go out and raise $2.5 million to build a church?’ I said, ‘Yes sir that's what we're going to do.’”
Since Thursday, Beldon has been calling every person he knows and no one has turned him down. He’s already raised $100,000 through a GoFundMe page called Rebuilding Sutherland Springs Inc. and has the blessing of the pastoral staff.
Beldon’s plan is to raise as much as possible. There’s a board of directors, including himself, Carl Bush with Frost Bank and Frank Farias with Farco Mechanical to oversee the trust fund for now. The accounting firm Akin, Doherty, Klein & Feuge PC is handling the transactions, while MarmonMok Architecture has offered to do the design work for free. Many more are stepping up to offer their services.
“None of us knew anybody. We're just San Antonians, Texans, and we wanted to help. If not us, who?” Beldon said.
Beldon has raised $100,000 so far. He hopes to have the foundation become a nonprofit to make all donations tax deductible by next week.
“It's hard,” he paused, moved to tears. “It’s not hard asking people for money. It's hard asking people for money because of what happened.”
Beldon is in the process of setting up a memorial for the victims to give the survivors a place to mourn by this weekend. The details of when and where the new church will be built is all up to the pastor. He said the group is just raising the money.
Beldon has vowed to do all he can, even if it means going door to door all over San Antonio, asking for donations.
“I don’t know how you go on, but we're going to give them a facility for hope for them,” Beldon said. “Nobody will ever be forgotten. The 26 victims will never be forgotten, ever. We're going to make sure of that.”