Locals open their hearts, homes to fatal church bus crash victims

What we know about the teen victim of the bus crash.

ATLANTA - A bus carrying high school students was involved in a brutal crash in South Fulton on Thursday. One teen died and dozens were treated at hospitals where some remain.

The Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama posted a note on their Facebook page shortly after the crash. It started with “PRAY,” gave a few details about the crash and ended by asking people to “pray for those injured and parents as they travel to Atlanta.”

It didn’t take long for complete strangers to open their hearts and their homes to the caravan of families arriving from Huntsville to be by the side of their loved ones. On that post and the others that followed, complete strangers who lived in and around Atlanta began reaching out and offering their help. We now know what caused the crash: http://on.11alive.com/2s61T44

PHOTOS: Church bus crash victim Sarah Harmening

People were willing to open their homes and offer up their vehicles. They were also willing to give their time and send prayers.

Joey Moore was one of those people. He put his phone number on Facebook and said, “We are willing to help with free lodging transportation or anything else. We can accommodate about 7 people on beds and couches. I can also assist in transportation back to Alabama on Saturday if you need it.”

When asked why he made that bold offer to complete strangers, Moore said he could relate to what the parents might be feeling.

Photos | Camp Creek church bus crash

He said his children are adults now but when they were young people, they were very active with the youth group and would go on trips with the church.

“You always worry about something like that happening,” he said.

“That’s always in the back of a parent’s mind.”

Moore said he has driven his church’s bus in the past and so, “that hit home for us.” He said he and his wife are praying for Mt. Zion and keeping those affected in his thoughts.

Many people are drawing on their faith to come to terms with how something so tragic could happen to a group of young people on a mission for good.

 ► Passenger killed in tragic south Fulton church bus crash identified

► Loved ones find glimmer of hope in church bus victim's final journal entry

Another stranger who offered up his home is Jeff Werho from Jonesboro. He and his wife Tara live minutes from the site of the crash and said he offered to help because he’s a Christian and saw that there was a potential need.

“As a Christian, this is what we’re supposed to do,” Werho said.

He is a father and said when you hear something has happened to your kid, “you think the worst.”

Werho said the crash and parents’ reactions to it brought him back to an experience with his son who as in California.

“I know the horror of not knowing what is going on with your kids,” he said.

That horror and his faith pushed the Werhos to offer help to families who they’ve never met but so much in common with.

These two families were one of many willing to open their hearts and homes to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church family. No one has reached out to the Moores or Werhos yet but both families said they’re ready to take the call.

The church posted another note on their Facebook page Friday morning saying they are “completely brokenhearted but we have not lost heart.” They also mentioned the support they’ve received.

“Completely overwhelmed by the love and compassion of those who have reached out. We rest in out great God and His unfailing word.” 

The parents of the teen who died shared her last journal entry that showed her love for Jesus Christ. Listen, here.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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