EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- A Connecticut pastor and church group traveled 2,300 miles across the U.S. to El Paso to spread the message “Love Goes Farther” following the tragic August 3 Walmart shooting in El Paso.
Pastor Adam Bowles from Castle Church in Norwich, C.T. had the idea after seeing the alleged shooter Patrick Crusius drove nearly 10 hours to El Paso after reportedly planning an attack on Hispanics.
“We’re here to step ground in the community and say no the hispanic community enriches our lives,” Bowles said.
Bowles said his group had the idea to spread love while prompting to do something after the tragedy to help the community heal.
“The phrase came to my mind love goes farther and there is a scripture that says go the extra mile, the first is the one that is required, the second is the one that comes from love,” Bowles said.
The group raised money to donate to the Community Foundation’s Victim Relief Fund. According to the pastors, they raised at least a dollar for every mile driven from Connecticut to El Paso.
However, they also wanted to reflect on the 22 lives lost on the cross-country drive.
“Due to the shooter driving ten hours to come and do the act of hatred we wanted to travel a day and ten hours to show that love goes further,” youth leader Matthew Martinez said.
The trio stopped in St. Louis, Dallas, and Dayton, Ohio which experienced a mass shooting just several hours after the one in El Paso occurred.
“As I was coming on this trip thinking about the people who were affected cause I personally know what it feels like to experience a loss so I wanted to meet the other people and show them that there’s still hope,” Martinez said.
After spending some time in the Borderland, the trio said they witnessed firsthand what ‘El Paso Strong’ really is.
“I can’t even put into words of how welcoming it felt so i really appreciate the city and never going to forget coming here for the rest of my life,” Martinez said.