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Honoring the Jefferson Ten at the Buffalo Bills home opener

Posted at 10:53 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 22:53:54-04

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The theme of the Buffalo Bills home opener was Choose Love, in honor of the ten victims who were killed at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue May 14th.

"Highmark and the Buffalo Bills decided they would recognize, and wanted to do something nice, for those impacted families. They invited all of them here, all of the victims, for the Bills first home game," Pastor James Giles, the president and CEO of Back to Basics Ministries, said.

Bruce Smith spoke just before kick off with the families of the victims and organizations who helped the community standing behind him.

"I wish you all peace, love, and happiness," Smith said.

They also honored five organizations that were the first to respond and remain the boots on the ground.

"Five months out, we are still there. We are still on the ground, and we are still providing resources for those families that are still overwhelmed or that are still traumatized," Lenny Lane, president of Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S., said.

A mural has been erected to honor those victims, and Buffalo fans put their own colorful touch on it.

"I poured my heart into it, so I hope that all of that love is coming out of it and touching everyone," Patti Thomas, the mural's artist, said.

Those honored tell 7 News the most important message to the families is that they, and their loved ones, are not forgotten.

"It solidifies the fact that Buffalo is strong. We are resilient. We bounce back at the sign of adversity. This is absolutely what it does. It shows everyone that you can't bring us down. All we do is bounce back stronger," Cedric Holloway, the director of Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Stadium, said.