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Bryan business with roots in Uvalde raising money for those affected by tragedy

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 9:10 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - American Lumber has offices and a plant in Bryan, where the family-owned business is based now.

But they began in Uvalde in the 1980s and the Hendler family still considers the small community home and Robb Elementary a place of memories.

“We were living as a family in Uvalde, and it is probably more of a community than is a town. It’s, there’s a very community-oriented spirit. People know people, it’s just the way it is,” American Lumber President and CEO, Barry Hendler said. “My wife Laura taught [in Uvalde] for many years. Actually, she taught at Robb school at one point in time. She has a lot of teacher friends and connections such as that all three of the children graduated from the Uvalde High School, played football and baseball there and you know, that routine, it just, it was hometown for us, and still is, I call that our home.”

Hendler was in their office in Downtown Bryan when he started to hear the news; over a dozen children were killed at school in Uvalde. He said the family didn’t know what to do.

“I’m not sure you do initially. We were all shell-struck. I mean, we didn’t know how to process it. What started happening, and it was, well, it was immediate,” he said.

This is when his first call to help came.

“The Mayor of Uvalde asked me if we could open up our building, for a command post for the EMS, we’re next door to EMS. Of course, they were all it was there that afternoon. And those are the people that ended up having to process the scene. And, again, small community people know people, and they’re pulling out the children of friends. It was not a good place,” Hendler said.

The American Lumber facility was used as an EMS command post for weeks. Then, the next step in assistance came.

Hendler and his family had business partners and connections from all over the country reaching out.

“For myself, my wife, Laura, all three of the kids that all of a sudden, we’re getting bombarded. People to wanting check on us, wanting to make sure that everything was fine wanting to know what they could do. We had people telling us how they were praying for for us and for the community. Asking what they could do to help,” he said.

The Uvalde Strong Fund was then started. The fund will go to a 501(c)3 charity that is helping the community of Uvalde and the families directly affected by the mass shooting that killed 21 people at Robb Elementary.

American Lumber has pledged to match up to $100,000 in funds donated.

People looking to donate to the Uvalde Strong Fund can via Venmo by sending donations to @communityfoundation and write “American Lumber” in the Memo Line, via credit card by clicking and following the link American Lumber-Uvalde Strong Fund Credit Card Payment or by check you can make out to “The Community Foundation” and write “American Lumber” in the Memo Line and mail it to American Lumber - Uvalde Strong Fund, c/o Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country, 241 Earl Garrett Street Kerrville, Texas 78028.

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