CENTERVILLE, Texas — Today marks five days into the search for escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez. Multiple agencies and all resources are still being used. Now local businesses are stepping up to fuel the boots on the ground.
As community members in Centerville sit on the sidelines waiting for good news, some local business owners are donating meals to help fuel local law enforcement get through another day.
Community members say this is an unusual amount of attention and movement for a small town like Centerville. Even parents have seen the impacts on their children.
”The first couple of days my child was very stressed out, had trouble sleeping things like that but now it just kind of you know things are a little more relaxed,” said Wendy Baldwin, parent of Centerville ISD student.
As time has passed Wendy Baldwin says the sights and sounds have become normalized.
But when it came to sending her child to school Baldwin was confident in his safety.
“I wasn’t actually very concerned because our school does such a great job at protecting our students,” shared Baldwin.
Kiddos head back to school and local business owners like Duran's Italian Restaurant have donated meals to those on the front lines.
Baldwin shared other local businesses like Country Cousins Barbeque in Centerville, Joe's Italian, Walkers Cafe, and McDonald's in Madisonville have also donated items to help fuel officers as they take on another day.
”Biggest thing we’re worried about is everyone making it home safe," said Argon Hoti, owner of Duran's Italian restaurant. "I know there’s something like a few hundred officers out here and you don’t want to hear of anyone getting hurt or doesn’t make it home to see their family,”
Owner Argon Hoti shared that due to the shelter in place order business has been slow, but understands safety comes first.
He says, “Business-wise you don’t really ever want it to be this slow but as far as your family we keep checking on the kids,”
While safety comes first, you can also tell in Centerville, so does their community.
“We came together as a community and everybody just jumped in and is helping,” added Baldwin
As the search continues business owners like Hoti say they're more than willing to keep helping their local law enforcement. But ultimately hope this man-hunt ends soon.