Hesston community gathers for prayer and togetherness

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HESSTON, Kan. -- Nearly the entire town packed inside the high school gym to mourn every life lost, even the man who pulled the trigger.

In a town with a population of 3700, mostly everyone did away with their Sunday routines and came to Hesston's high school gym.

"I'm not surprised at all. That's who we are," high school teacher Mark Dahlsten said.

"Very emotional. I just thinking its a blessing that the community can come together and put on something like this," Ruby Blyer said.

People say this service is the first step forward, as people sit with signs that read "Hesston Strong," but it's not just a saying here. Just ask them how much they love their community and the people in it.

"I'll probably cry," Virginia Stutcman said.

"I'm hoping that people will be willing to reach out even more and to love others," Blyer said.

Even while several at the service came face-to-face with the gunman Cedric Ford on Friday, they still bowed their heads to pray for him. Four candles sat front and center, each lit in honor of all that lost their lives, including Ford.

"I believe that he was troubled. Obviously he was troubled but he's one of gods kids too," Dahlsten said.

"God loves him and we need to love him too. And we need to continue to pray for him and his family," Blyer said.

Amazing Grace was sung by thousands in an attempt to find a sense of normalcy Monday, a type of grace they hope the victim's family feels always.

"Our heart goes out to them. We will continue to lift them up," Blyer said.

If you want to help the town of Hesston, head to hesstonfoundation.org to find out how.