ODESSA, Texas — The flags at Ector County Sheriff's Office are flying half staff for those in Uvalde Texas.
Just hours after this tragic event, the Sheriff's Office wants to lend a hand to that community in this time of need.
"I mean a lot of times you don’t get to touch peoples lives like this is," said Ector County Sheriff's Office PIO. "And to us its our neighbor and their fellow Texans and so it hit home. It’s just an unimaginable event that none of us could foresee, but it could happen anywhere and it just says we’re ready to step up and assist in anyway we can for our neighbors and let them know that we love them and we’re thinking of them and our prayers are with them.
This is why they've placed a donation box and poster for messages in the front foyer of the office. The label on the box reads "UvaldeStrong."
Natalia Schlabritz and her coworkers are some of the many people who felt called to give today.
"We came today to donate to support the community with this loss which is terrible and unimaginable," Schlabritz said. "I know that money could not replace loved ones but we hope this small donation will show our support. I know that even though it happened in Uvalde. Each family here each of us is kind of hit hard because we are all thinking about our children, about our grandchildren and about our community. It could happen anywhere, we are praying for peace on this earth. We are praying for a bright future for our children."
Many of those giving today, remember being in a similar situation years ago, when a gunman drove through the streets of Odessa and Midland firing randomly at innocent victims.
"We’ve seen it up close and personal and it just says so much about our leadership with Sheriff Griffis," Hardee said.
Like Natalia, Judy Hayes was here when the mass shooting happened in 2019. "There were several people I knew that were affected by that," Hayes said.
And today, she's here, for one simple reason.
"I don’t know. Probably the biggest reason is because it’s the thing to do," Hayes said. "Unbelievable, could not believe that someone could do that to children."
Because as we send our thoughts and prayers, what unites us is the little things. They want Uvalde to know, they aren't alone.
"For these families we would like them to know we love them very much and we prayed for them today at our work and we are so thankful the sheriff office got this opportunity for us to support Uvalde in these terrible and difficult times," Schlabritz said.