Watch CBS News

Parents Of Aurora Theater Shooting Victim Helping Texas Mass Shooting Victims

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - It's been almost 10 years since the Aurora theater shooting, and ever since then Sandy and Lonnie Phillips have been on a mission. Their daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was among the 12 killed in the shooting.

They responded by creating their original nonprofit, Jessi's Message, which has since grown into Survivors Empowered.

Jessica Ghawi
Jessica Ghawi (credit: CBS)

They quit their jobs to travel from mass shooting to mass shooting and guide victims' families through the aftermath.

"What to expect from the media. What to expect from charities that might be collecting money or even individuals who are collecting money for the families that you'll never see," Sandy Phillips told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.

Jessica Ghawi's parents Sandy Phillips
Jessica Ghawi's mother Sandy Phillips (credit: CBS)

CBS4 caught up with the two as they headed to the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 21 people were killed on May 24.

Survivors Empowered recently released their "Survivors Toolkit," a free, step-by-step guide for those affected by mass shootings. Sandy and Lonnie have been busy over the years and this latest shooting in Uvalde, Texas really hits home.

Memorial for Texas school shooting victims
UVALDE,TEXAS, USA - MAY 25: A man prays in front of a makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022. At least 19 students and two adults were killed at an elementary school in the US state of Texas on Wednesday when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Uvalde is outside of San Antonio, where their daughter Jessica grew up. In fact, their son is a first responder in the area and was one of the first on scene. Meeting families affected by horrific shootings never gets easier, but knowing their pain is what keeps them going.

"We let survivors know that you have a whole army out here of people that understand your walk and won't judge your walk, and we're here for you just to support you, and give you the hugs that you need, the love you need."

MORE INFORMATION: Survivors Empowered

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.