LUBBOCK, Texas — On Wednesday, funeral services were held for Rory Thomas. She died Saturday morning following complications with the coronavirus.
Krystal Bennett, long-time friend and Wednesday night dining hall coordinator, said Thomas was a strong Christian woman.
“I have no doubt that Jesus Christ himself welcomed her,” Bennett said.
In 2007, Thomas and her family were one of few from Bacon Heights Baptist to join Trinity Church, after Dan Reynolds was called to be their new pastor, with community outreach as their mission. Thus, Lubbock Impact was born.
“Lord put it in her heart and there was nothing going to stop her,” Yvonne Dorman, member of the board of directors and communications director for Lubbock Impact, said.
From then, Rory and her family were committed to the organization. She became the executive director in 2018, when the position had been created, Poppy Beard, minister for Unpack at Lubbock Impact, said.
“She was just the perfect fit, so when she applied for it, we were so happy because we knew that she could make the change but yet it’s her baby and her passion,” Beard said.
Tasked with leading Lubbock Impact, the women said she did so with grace, unafraid to speak the truth.
“When she called and said ‘I need help’…..I’m on my way,” Dorman said.
When she contracted the coronavirus, it was unexpected. Rory spent several days in the ICU and eventually was on a ventilator, with her family praying alongside her.
“Just like I admired Rory’s faith, I admired their faith. But again, the realist in me, the nurse in me knew the prognosis was very poor,” Bennett said.
The women said hearing the news of her death was heartbreaking.
“She was a huge presence here, not just at Lubbock Impact, but for our community,” Dorman said.
Describing her as a woman of inspiration, love and care, the Dorman said her death has left them without direction.
“It will take a while for us to find a new identity in her absence because we’ve all relied so strongly on her leadership,” Bennett said.
But they know, while they may be grieving, they will continue to move forward… for Rory and her vision,” Dorman said.
All services, including the meal bags and clothes closets will be closed in remembrance of Rory. Their next soup kitchen will be held next Wednesday.