A GoFundMe campaign started for the children of a murdered Uvalde, Texas, elementary teacher and her husband who died shortly after her killing, has raised more than $2.5 million.
The campaign for the four children was launched after the death of Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed in the Robb Elementary shooting. Irma’s husband, Joe, tragically passed away from a heart attack two days later.
“Hi, my name is Debra Austin, Irma Garcia was my cousin and one of the teachers killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas (5/24/2022). Irma was a wife, a mother of 4, a cousin, a sister a daughter, an aunt and a wonderful person. She would literally do anything for anybody……no questions asked. She loved her classroom kids and died trying to protect them,” Austin wrote on the campaign’s page.
“I am equally devasted to report Irma’s husband Joe has tragically passed away this morning (5/26/2022) as a result of a medical emergency. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. I truly believe Joe died of a broken heart and losing the love of his life of more than 25 years was too much to bear,” she added.
The Washington Post reported that the top donation of more than $500,000 was carried over from a separate GoFundMe created by Irma’s nephew, John Martinez. “The page has also received several other high-dollar donations and was promoted on social media by Bill Pulte, a philanthropist and CEO of the investment firm Pulte Capital.”
On Sunday morning, Austin provided a brief update to thank supporters.
“I would like to thank all the donors worldwide that have contributed to these wonderful kids. The prayers and love and support you have sent are so very much appreciated and needed as they continue their journey through life without their mother and father,” she wrote.
GoFundMe has also created a page to raise funds for the other victims of the Robb Elementary shooting.
“The GoFundMe community is coming together to support all those affected. Our Trust and Safety team will continue to update this hub with more fundraisers as they are verified,” the website noted. “Donate to verified Texas elementary school shooting fundraisers below to offer your help.”
Martinez, Irma’s nephew, wrote that she gave her life protecting children in her classroom.
“My tia did not make it, she sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom, i beg of you to keep my family including all of her family in y’all’s prayers , IRMA GARCIA IS HER NAME and she died a HERO. she was loved by many and will truly be missed,” he wrote.
My tia did not make it, she sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom, i beg of you to keep my family including all of her family in y’all’s prayers , IRMA GARCIA IS HER NAME and she died a HERO. she was loved by many and will truly be missed. pic.twitter.com/2XpdJA0q8x
— john martinez ❤️🔥 (@fuhknjo) May 25, 2022
The support follows the tragic deaths of 19 children, along with the two teachers, by an 18-year-old shooter in the mass shooting. The shooter was killed by a Border Patrol officer who responded to the call for help.
Irma’s husband, Joe, reportedly suffered a deadly heart attack after returning home from his wife’s memorial at the school on Thursday.
Family member Joey Martinez also paid tribute to his aunt and her husband following the announcement of Joe’s death, saying “these two will make anyone feel loved no matter what they have the purest hearts ever I love you sm tia and tio.”
Lord god please on our family, my tias husband passed away this morning due to a heart attack at home he’s with his wife now, these two will make anyone feel loved no matter what they have the purest hearts ever I love you sm tia and tio please be with me every step of the way pic.twitter.com/opivBERMvv
— Joey.mtz (@Joeymtz4) May 26, 2022