BATESVILLE – Thanksgiving marked six months for the families of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims. Many more milestones have come and gone.
After honoring the 21 victims’ lives, on Saturday they gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving as one family.
“They call it Friendsgiving. My first one I’ve ever attend[ed] and it’s special because it’s all of our families. You know what I mean, so definitely special. Definitely thankful to be here,” Steven Garcia, Ellie Garcia’s dad, said.
Blessed is an understatement after spending the day in Batesville with families of the Robb victims. You’ll never find a stronger, more loving group of people in this world. Tonight on the #nightbeat we’ll take you to their Friendsgiving celebration @ksatnews pic.twitter.com/5mTZen7oVW— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) November 27, 2022
“This is broccoli, rice and cheese casserole and then on the bottom is brussel sprouts,” Berlinda Arreola, Amerie Jo Garza’s grandma, said, stirring food in the oven.
The home in Batesville was packed with tons of food, smiles, hugs and a whole lot of love.
“Beautiful to see everybody together like this. It’s a family that’s grown together that we love each other, we support each other,” Jesse Rizo, Jackie Cazares’ uncle, said. “Mucho corazón, mucho amor.”
For Julissa and Manuel Rizo, their home is the perfect place to host the gathering.
It’s filled with special memories, like Jackie’s first holy communion that was held in early May.
“May 8th was the last time we gathered and then May 24th, of course we all know what happened on that day. But it was one of those days we will never forget as a family. I mean, she was so beautiful,” Julissa Cazares Rizo, Jackie’s aunt and godmother said.
As siblings and cousins of the 19 children played in the yard and Eva and Irma’s seats are empty, this new family held each other close days after the six-month anniversary of the shooting.
They’re thankful for shared strength and compassion.
“Now we have an extended family, which is beautiful that they’re all here under one roof, which is great to have,” Julissa said.
“Thank you for your friendship, for your love, for your prayers, for your kindness from day one. You know, we’re a big family,” Javier Cazares, Jackie’s dad said before the crowd ate.
This coming week, we have an hour-long special featuring the Robb Elementary victims and all that has happened these last six months in Uvalde.
That’ll air on December 2nd at 7 p.m.. We hope that you’ll join us.