SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Community members got the news that they did not want to hear Tuesday, as police confirmed the death of Bill Wolfe, Jr. in the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
Wolfe, 42, was a husband and father who had taken his wife Robyn to Las Vegas for their 20th wedding anniversary, but they became separated in the mayhem as a gunman opened fire on the festival.
Wolfe was an engineer, but is being remembered for his contributions to Shippensburg youth by serving as an elementary school wrestling coach and a coach for the Shippensburg Little League.
"Bill was the type of man who has lived not just in the community, but for the community," said Tony Yaniello, Shippensburg's High School wrestling coach who has known Wolfe and his family for the last eight years. "Bill truly cared about his family, his community and all the people that he touched."
One can feel the level of shock in the community, finding out the mass shooting on the other side of the country hits so close to home.
"It really hits small towns hard," said Marcie Taylor, of the Shippensburg-based Drew Michael Taylor Foundation, which she helped launch after she lost her son in a car accident in 2006. "You just you think you're safe, you think 'That's not ever going to affect us,' and it does and it's been a really sad situation and the mood of the town is just very somber."
Taylor and her foundation decided to hold an event at the high school Tuesday to help parents start the conversation on grief with their children who knew Wolfe. She knows Wolfe's family from living in the same neighborhood as Wolfe's parents in the Shippensburg area.
"We knew these conversations are happening in households around our community," she said. "They need to happen, and it's not easy to find the words, especially if your family hasn't experienced this type of loss before."
Yaniello said he would remember Wolfe as a man committed to his job, but also so dedicated to volunteerism that Wolfe would draw up wrestling tournament brackets all night and set up the wrestling venue the following morning.
"He wanted to help the youth and the families involved, and that was Bill," Yaniello said. "We're going to celebrate his legacy for that."
A prayer service in Wolfe's honor will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Newburg First Church of God.