North Texas students answer church shooting survivor's Christmas wish
Students from a North Texas school are sending Christmas greetings to two children they never met who survived the Sutherland Springs church shooting.
Ryland Ward is the youngest survivor of the deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs. He has one simple Christmas wish: holiday cards for himself and another wounded friend, 6-year-old Zoe Braden.
The 5-year-old was shot several times by a gunman and will likely still be in the hospital recovering over Christmas. His request for cards has reached people across the state, country and even around the world.
When students at Irma Marsh Middle School heard about Ryland’s wish, they wanted to do their part.
The middle school students are sending special Christmas cards to Ryland and Zoe. They may never meet, but they'll know they care.
“I want them to feel like they're important and that they're out there and that we're thinking about them and we’re trying to do anything to make them happy,” said student Shadya Lopez.
Zoe is home from the hospital. Ryland was shot five times and remains in the hospital in San Antonio.
We talked with his grandmother sandy ward on face time.
"He can get around the hospital in a wheelchair. He doesn't want to sit still at all,” explained Sandy Ward, Ryland’s grandmother. “Even just to get out in the waiting room and talk to people, he wants to go and see things and keep moving."
Students at Irma Marsh in the Castleberry ISD are making Christmas cards and holiday ornaments for Ryland and Zoe.
"He gets so many, but he loves the ones from all the kids,” Sandy said. “He loves looking through those and seeing the kids' drawings."
Walmart donated the ornaments for the students to decorate.
"I would like this ornament to go to him so he knows everyone is thinking about him and how special this is to him,” said student Samiah Lozano.
"We do treat this as a life experience and how can we overcome that,” said Castleberry ISD Superintendent John Ramos. “We’re really big on talking about how you can overcome evil with good."
Sandy says when Ryland winds down, the Christmas cards are what cheer him back up again.
Doctors told Ryland’s family there is hope that he could be home for Christmas.
Cards can still be sent to Ryland and Zoe to the following address:
P.O. Box 174
Sutherland Springs, Texas