A North San Antonio company is providing powerful light fixtures in a planned candlelight vigil where 21 victims of a Uvalde mass shooting will be remembered one year after their lives were taken.
Survivors of the May 24, 2022, Robb Elementary School shooting and surviving loved ones of the 19 students and two teachers slain by the shooter are invited to a candlelight vigil planned for 7:30 p.m. May 24 at Uvalde Memorial Park.
According to organizers, the vigil will feature the activation of 21 search lights that will be temporarily based at the Uvalde County Fairplex, 215 Veterans Lane. The lights are being provided by the company North American Searchlight Advertising Searchlights, located near the San Antonio International Airport.
Jerry Wayne, the company’s chief marketing officer and founding partner, told Community Impact that NASA Searchlights has been selling and renting a variety of portable, all-electronic, single-beam searchlights and multihead units for different types of use nationwide and around the world.
Wayne said NASA Searchlights’ products have multiple uses, including for public memorials, private business promotions, corporate events and nighttime spacecraft launches.
“Our tribute lights are also known as advertising searchlights and used to attract attention to special events from miles away,” Wayne said.
Wayne said the Robb Elementary tragedy touched him and his colleagues to a point where NASA Searchlights officials wondered if there was a way to help pay tribute to those killed in the shooting.
Wayne said in early April, he reached out to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, who represents Uvalde and has been an advocate for improved school and gun safety since the shooting.
Wayne said Gutierrez’s office put him in contact Gloria Cazares, who lost her daughter Jackie Cazares and niece Annabell Rodriguez, both age 10, in the school shooting.
“I discussed what our company could do for the families directly affected by that tragedy with my two business partners,” Wayne said. “We decided to do what we could, and that was to donate our equipment and services to create the largest tribute ever done for a mass shooting.”
Wayne said 21 tribute light fixtures, which collectively will produce illumination equivalent to more than 8 billion candles, will operate in Uvalde from sunset May 24 until sunrise the following morning.
According to Wayne, the Uvalde display will include the placement of 19 18-inch mirror lights and three 60-inch mirror lights; one of the 60-inch lights will shine upon the city’s water tower.
Wayne said he and his business partners hope that, in a sense, the tribute lights will help to wash away the darkness of that night that followed the school shooting.
“The tribute lights will produce over 8 billion candlepower that will represent as if all 8 billion people on this planet were holding a candle to honor those lost in this tragedy,” he added.