Sean Peacock said he was first contacted by the mother of 10-year-old Makenna Lee Elrod, asking if she could “customize a bench for the loss of a child.”
Eastman, Ga. – A self-proclaimed “average Joe” from a small town in Georgia is now forever connected to the Uvalde community through the love inspired by the loss of his sister.
Sean Peacock lives in Eastman, a community of nearly 5,000 people in rural Georgia. He told us that when he first learned about the shooting in Uvalde on May 24th, he turned off the media and purposely didn’t try to read anything about it, because of the truly horrific nature of what had happened. This will change for Sean in a few days. You see, Sean is a craftsman who makes wooden benches as a tribute to lost loved ones.
The first bench he built was in memory of his sister Donna, an RN who loved to work in the yard and died unexpectedly at a young age. He had made the bench as a gift for his mother, a pure labor of love for her.
On May 31 Sean received a message through Etsy shop to his business, Jass Graphix, Inc., is asking if they can make a custom butterfly bench for a 10-year-old child named Makna and if they can get a discount if two are ordered. Sean said his gut told him this child had to be connected to the Uvalde tragedy, so he looked up the names of Makenna and Uvalde. His name was at the top of the list of victims that appeared. For Sean, it was a sign that he should be benched. He said he was “torn apart” by the news. He immediately reached mom and answered that he would fix the bench and give a discount.
But then he didn’t hear from mom for a few days, and when he did, the response was just as heartbreaking. Mom said, “Hi, I’m sorry I called you just now, I attended a funeral. My daughter is due this Saturday.”
Sean, a father of children aged two to 29, said he had a hard time wrapping his brain around the information. How could she make a bench for this one mother when there were 20 other people grieving the loss of a child or loved one at such a young age?
The answer was simple. Sean decided to make benches for all of them. He knew he needed help with expenses, so he created one gofundme To collect the money needed for logistics and delivery costs.
Hi, my name is Sean Peacock, located in Eastman Georgia and also the owner JassGraphix IncThe gofundme listing said: “The recent tragedy of the Rob Elementary School shooting led to a parent who lost a child in that horrific event reaching out to us. Etsy shop Would like to purchase two butterfly memorial benches that we manufacture here at JassGraphix. He wanted a discount if he ordered two, but I think every child there deserves to be remembered and we as a community can shine a light on a dark time in the lives of many, not only there, but across our country. We have to let the good flow so that the bad goes away.”
The response was wonderful! He had set a goal of $20,000 and in the first two days he had hit it…and then some.
Sean said he wasn’t surprised by the response because he knew his community would rally, but he was surprised at how quickly the money poured in. In her small town, Eastman was just the opposite, “pure love.”
“I hope and pray that Eastman and Dodge County can be a beacon for this community halfway across the country,” Sean said. “They certainly need it.”
Sean posts completed benches daily His Facebook page and share their stories.
See all benches here:
Georgian man builds 21 benches for Uvalde victims
The Eastman community is holding an Eastman Day of Prayer for Uvalde/Bench Mission on Saturday, July 30 at 6 p.m., so community members can bless the pews before they leave for Uvalde.
After the pews arrive in Uvalde, a community-wide prayer service will be held on Monday, August 1, at Uvalde’s town square at 7 p.m. The benches will be delivered privately in the following days.
“This story is about much more than benches,” Sean said. “hand-made Prayer pillows donated by Sailor Kate Ministries Each family is also given a bench made with photos and inscriptions.
Sean said the whole experience was nothing short of divine intervention.
“God works in mysterious ways and I have been blessed to be able to relate to each of the families affected by this terrible tragedy,” says Sean. “We will be forever connected.”