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Texas memorial grows to give family and friends of Uvalde victims a place to mourn

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
Posted at 5:30 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 17:31:42-04

Walk into downtown Uvalde, Texas, and you will see signs of strength with phrases like "Uvalde Strong" now painted on windows and see symbols of remembrance at the memorial that has grown in the square outside the county courthouse. 

“I don’t know I’m trying to be positive a little bit, it’s hard to be positive but I’m trying I’m I’m trying to," says Aurora Velez.

Velez knows how personal this tragedy is. She used to work at Robb Elementary. She taught alongside Irma Garcia. The fourth-grade teacher was lost in the shooting.

"Very smart, very creative, very good co-worker. I mean. I can’t believe it I’m like how this is happening," Velez says.

By now you probably know the story of Irma’s husband, Joe’s passing on Thursday of a heart attack, just two days after his wife was killed.

The family's story has impacted people around the world. Just look at the GoFundMe page in honor of the couple, who left behind four children. Donations are now in the millions of dollars

“We are speechless about all of this," Velez says.

Each cross that stands in the memorial in the town square is surrounded by toys, flowers, candles, and dolls, telling the story of each victim.

But for as much as a memorial can offer hope, counseling can help create a path to find it.

"It's a difficult time because it’s difficult," says Ashley McClelland, "It’s just kind of what’s going on. We’re here to help absorb the pain a little bit and air out what’s going on."

McClelland is a grief counselor for Vet Centers, which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Inside the RV that is now parked outside Uvalde's American Legion post, she usually helps veterans who are struggling with the mental scars of battle. Now she is helping those struggling with the impact of this shooting.

"The best thing to do when something is inside when you’re having a hard time with it is to share it talk about it, get it out process it," she says.