SEBRING, Fla. - Four of the five victims of Wednesday’s SunTrust bank shooting have been identified as the community works to find comfort by coming together and being #SebringStrong. That’s the phrase locals want to define their city after this tragedy.
A print shop in Sebring has been printing Sebring Strong decals to share that message of unity – and raise money for the families of the victims.
The owner of Signs by Signtastic, Michelle Lott had the idea Thursday and immediately started printing. By Friday night, she’d printed almost 2,000.
But she can barely print them fast enough for the demand. Lott says people all over the country have placed orders, with the proceeds going directly to those impacted by this tragedy.
“I like to give back where I can and this is my platform," Lott said. "Everybody is just coping and trying to help where they can."
On their own, they may just be words, but together they define Sebring’s courage to face the unimaginable.
"It's very scary because you don't think it's going to happen here it's such a small community that you don't expect that," she said.
In a city best described by the saying "everybody knows everybody," the loss of five its own has left a void in hearts all around.
From dawn until dusk, a makeshift memorial has been surrounded by grieving friends, families, and strangers.
White crosses have been put up in honor of Marisol Lopez, Jessica Eileen Noreen Montague, and Ana Piñon-Williams, Cynthia Watson, and a fifth victim who has not been named at her family's request.
“Marisol, we always talked about Jesus. You know, she loved Jesus and that was a beautiful thing," said Kelly Pierce, who knew several of the victims. "And Jessica, she had a sports car, I had a sports car so it was just, you know, the interaction that you have with people the normal every day."
Those casual conversations are now cherished memories and as they prepare for Sunday’s vigil, plus the difficult days to come, the #SebringStrong decals will be a reminder that no one is facing it alone.
Lott says she's raised around $1,000 in just two days.
Earlier this year she did the same for fallen deputy William Gentry. She says, after his death, the community donated about $20,000.
She believes this time will be no different.
The decals will be available at a vigil scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m. inside the Highlands News-Sun Center. For more information about the decals, Signs by Signtastic may be reached at 863-402-1800.