EASTMAN, Ga. — Sometimes, tragedy has a way of tearing folks apart.
After a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School killed 21 students, an Eastman man, his team, and his community are hoping art will bring them back together.
1,200 miles away from Uvalde, Texas, Sean Peacock read headlines in horror of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
"I didn't want to, I didn't want to read the news. I saw the headlines and I just blocked it out," he said.
After his sister's passing in 2008, he restored a bench she had in her garden, re-gifting it to his mother, eventually selling them online, but he had no idea loss would bring the two worlds together.
"May 31, one of the mothers sent me a message via our Etsy store. She didn't say she was from Texas, she just wanted to know could I customize this bench for the loss of a child," he explained.
Peacock says he had a gut feeling it was connected to the shooting after researching the child's name. Sadly, she was one of the victims.
"After I discovered who she was, I was very much still emotional and I did like many of us do, went to Facebook. I just made a post. It was a picture of her daughter and a snippet of our conversation and then it was a list of the 21 victims," he explained.
The post captured the attention and hearts of many -- comments, messages, an outpouring of sympathy, asking how to help. Without thinking, he created a GoFundMe, raising $20,000 in 2 days funding 21 benches customized for each victim.
"Do you believe God gave you this special assignment, how do you see that?,” Caleesha Moore asked.
“If anybody else should be working on a project like this or speaking directly to those mamas or praying to those mamas and daddies, somebody else would be,” Peacock said.
He believes what he, his team, and people in Eastman have accomplished is part of a bigger ministry, and his mother agrees.
"I know as much as this bench has been to me, it'll just be overwhelming to these parents in Uvalde, Texas," his mother said.
"I think it's divine intervention, this whole process. It’s going to take a lot of me and you talking for me for you to get that whole story down, for you to understand I didn't just make some benches. We're fighting against the worst evil we can think about,” he said.
He says with love, they can conquer all.
After six weeks of work, Peacock and his team will take the benches to the downtown Eastman amphitheater for a prayer service. He's asking all who can to come pray over the benches Saturday at 6 p.m. Sunday, they will take them down to be delivered privately to the families along with items like crosses and prayer pillows made and donated by families across the state of Georgia.