Special to the EagleHerald  
John Quick (far right) with his wife Joanne, along with Pastor Frank Pomeroy, are on the Quick's wedding day in 2003 in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Special to the EagleHerald
John Quick (far right) with his wife Joanne, along with Pastor Frank Pomeroy, are on the Quick's wedding day in 2003 in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

MENOMINEE — When John Quick attended church on Sunday morning and heard a sermon about the uncertainty in death's timing, he had no idea how much the message would truly hit home. 

Quick attends the Abundant Life church in Menominee. But he once belonged to another church in Texas. The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The same one that just suffered a massacre of unimaginable proportions: 26 people were killed during its Sunday morning service when a lone gunman opened fire. 

"We just had a sermon, Sunday, about how you never know when you’re going to die," Quick said. "We just discussed that, so it kind of hit me hard. All these people, they didn’t know this was going to happen to them when they went to church, the last place you would think."

Quick didn't just belong to the Sutherland Springs church, however. He was married there. And baptized as a born-again christian. Quick was also friends with Pastor Frank Pomeroy. Pomeroy was out of town with his wife during the shooting, but the Pomeroy's 14-year old daughter was killed. 

Before Pomeroy was a pastor at Sutherland Springs, he'd come to work for Quick at Kimberly Clark. In charge of maintenance with Kimberly Clark, Quick had been relocated for his job to the San Antonio area. 

In need of maintenance personnel, Quick had placed an ad in the newspaper for the job. Pomeroy applied, despite having a higher paying job at the time. When Quick asked him why he wanted to work at Kimberly Clark, Pomeroy told him he had a family that was growing, wanted to be home more and was devoted to the church. 

Pomeroy was a deacon at another church and was pursuing a pastoral degree, Quick said. He decided to hire him. 

"Frank was very dependable, very conscientious," Quick said. "Frank had very deep roots in his religion, but he was not a domineering, overbearing person. If you wanted to talk about his religion, he was very good at it, very accommodating."

About a year into the job, Frank came to Quick asking about taking over a small church in Sutherland Springs. The problem was, financially he would still need to have more income coming in, Quick said. After discussing with management, they decided to keep Pomeroy on part-time so he could keep his benefits and pursue his passion, said Quick. 

"It allowed him to pursue his divinity," Quick said.

Quick later visited the church, ended up joining the parish and eventually married his wife, Joanne in Sutherland Springs. 

"Frank was the pastor who married us in the church," Quick said. 

Planning on a small, low-key wedding with little fanfare, Quick said the congregation had something else in mind for the special day.

"It was supposed to be a very simple wedding," he said. "When we came to the church, to our surprise, the congregation had totally decorated the church for our wedding. We did not know that this was going to happen, they just did it. That’s just the kind of people they were."

The congregation had also arranged the music to be played for the wedding as well as photography for the day. 

"They took us in just like family," Quick said. "The people were very gracious, very wonderful people."

Despite living in Texas for work for many years, Quick and his wife eventually relocated back to Menominee. So on Sunday evening, before heading out to meet some friends, when Joanne called to him to see something about Sutherland Springs on the news, Quick didn't believe what he was seeing. 

"Unbelievable... I just couldn’t believe it," Quick said. "I had a hard time comprehending. I said, 'I hope that’s a mistake,' but then honestly the first thing I felt was (wondering) about the pastor Frank. I said, 'oh my God, that’s Frank’s church.'"

If something ever happened to Pomeroy, Quick said he would be just devastated.

Upon discovery that Pomeroy was not in church that day, Quick said he felt relief. 

"Maybe it was something divine. It wasn’t his time," he said. "I’m so glad that he wasn’t there, that something didn’t happen to him, because that would’ve broke that little church."

Despite his relief that his friend was alive, Quick was still reeling thinking about the others, wondering about the names of who had survived and who hadn't and whether there were more of his friends inside. 

"I can’t get it out of my mind," Quick said. "It just hit me hard. I do want people to understand, these people, they didn’t deserve this."

What does it prove, Quick asked over and over again on the shooter's motive to murder.

"It’s just evil. It doesn’t prove anything," Quick said. "It makes me wonder what’s happening to our country?"

He was heartened, however, by the Texans who chased the shooter down.

"How they all jumped in and took after him. That’s typical Texas people," Quick said. "They don’t let people step on them; they’ll fight back. That did not surprise me at all."

Quick also couldn't say enough about the kindness and acceptance of Pomeroy and his parish, who welcomed Quick in when he was new to the church, helped on his wedding day when it wasn't asked for and ultimately cared. 

"That little church is so warm," Quick said. "I felt like I belonged there."