Hundreds came to the Killeen Civic Center Wednesday to say goodbye to a special pair of pastors.
"They were like a second pair of parents – not just to me, but to a lot of people here today,” said worship leader Emmanuel Hernandez. “[I’m] going to miss them dearly.”
Pastors Terry and Jan Whitely died in a car wreck last Thursday in Pflugerville. The couple founded the Grace Christian Center in the early 1980s and will be missed by many, according to those who attended the memorial service.
Christy Delaroche, who grew up in Killeen, but now lives in Washington, D.C., said there was no way she’d miss the service.
"I was determined to get here,” she said. “If I couldn't buy the ticket, I would drive. If I couldn't drive I would walk if I needed to.”
She added that the Whitelys’ wisdom is something she will always treasure, as it helped her get through some tough times.
"One of the most important things they told me: When you have nothing, you have your faith. Nobody can ever take that away from you,” Delaroche said. “And that has gotten me through a lot of trials and tribulations that I've had in my life."
Hernandez, too, has something from one of the Whitelys that he said he’ll always treasure.
"I even have a voicemail saved from Pastor Jan. Even at the end she said, ‘I just want to say I love and appreciate you so much,’” Hernandez said. “I'm never going to delete that voicemail."
While many said they came to celebrate instead of mourn, there are a lot of things that will be missed. Delaroche couldn't pick just one.
"Never gonna hear them talk again. Never hear their voice. Or have them laugh with you. All of it,” she said.