This was in today's paper and I thought some might be interested in contributing to Sara's fund. It is a great loss for a child to lose a Dad. My heart goes out to the family. Another atrocity in the name of "religion."
The first public memorial service for slain hostage Jack Hensley drew about 250 people to the Marietta Square on Thursday night, where Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders denounced the violence in Iraq and prayed for peace.
The crowd held candles and prayed for Hensley and his family, who live about four miles west of the square in Cobb County. No members of the family participated in the service.
AP/The Charlotte Observer
Jack Hensley, a civil engineer helping rebuild Iraq, was slain by Iraqi terrorists Tuesday. His family lives in Marietta.
The Hensley family will attend a memorial at 2 p.m. Saturday at North Metro Church of God, 2305 Barrett Parkway in Marietta, a family spokesman said. The service is open to the public.
The Rev. Jerry Gladson, senior minister of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Marietta, said, "We have all been diminished by Jack's death."
A group led by Jordanian-born terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi beheaded Hensley on Tuesday. He was killed a day after co-worker and fellow hostage Eugene Armstrong of Hillsdale, Mich., was executed in the same fashion.
The men were abducted Sept. 16 from the house they shared in a wealthy neighborhood in Baghdad. The terrorists, who have been linked to al-Qaida, are still holding 62-year-old Kenneth Bigley of Britain. The three men worked for the same construction company in Baghdad.
Jim Reavis drove an hour and 45 minutes to Marietta from Grayson on Thursday, curious to hear what Muslim leaders had to say about the beheading of Hensley.
"What I would like to hear is that the beheading is not a part of what Islam is about. I'd like to hear the clergy say that," said Reavis, 60, a lay leader of Grayson United Methodist Church.
Amjad Taufique, a member of the board of Masjid Al-Hedaya Mosque in Marietta, who organized Thursday night's interfaith service, and other speakers condemned the violence.
Metro Atlanta Muslims and Muslim organizations, including Masjid Al-Hedaya, the Islamic Speakers Bureau, the Council on American-Islamic Relations of North Georgia, and other Georgia mosques issued a statement denouncing the killings of Hensley and Armstrong.
"We condemn this latest act of murder in Iraq and repudiate those who would commit such atrocities," the statement said. "We also call for the immediate release of all hostages currently held in Iraq, whatever their nation of origin or faith."
Cesar Martinez, 32, of Kennesaw and a veteran of Desert Storm, said he came to Thursday's service because he has "a lot of ties that go back to Iraq.
"What goes on daily in Iraq affects me," he said, tears coming to his eyes. "I feel for everybody, but this situation hits closer to home. I've got ties with this man, even if he is not in the military."
College funds needed
Georgia Memorial Park Funeral Home-Winkenhofer Chapel in Marietta is in charge of arrangements for Hensley's funeral, which were incomplete Thursday.
Others are raising money to honor the memory of Jack Hensley.
A college fund set up by a South Carolina volunteer rescue squad for Hensley's daughter, Sara, reached $2,500 Thursday, said Mitchell Payne, the Rock Hill, S.C., attorney who drafted the trust. Bruce Foster Bauman, spokesman for the Tega Cay Rescue Squad, said Wednesday that the fund already had topped what the 13-year-old girl would need for college. But that assessment, Payne said, was based on the overwhelming number of telephone calls and e-mails pledging support. Those pledges haven't yet turned into money in the bank, he said.
The Tega Cay Rescue Squad set up the fund after hearing that Hensley was a founding member of the squad 30 years ago. Tega Cay, S.C., is a small town on Lake Wylie about 20 miles south of Charlotte.
The trust department of First Citizens Bank will oversee the account. The bank, headquartered in Columbia, has more than 150 offices in South Carolina and east Georgia.
Information about the fund ? and about how to contribute ? can be found at www.jackhensley.org, a Web site created by friends of the Hensleys'.
Local events scheduled to raise money for the Hensley family include:
? West Cobb Girls Softball, where Sara played on an all-star team and Jack Hensley coached, will conduct a raffle and collect donations Saturday at Lost Mountain Park in west Cobb County. The games begin at 9 a.m. The group also will donate all profits from Saturday concession sales, said league President Vinnie Ball.
? Meehan's Public House, a restaurant at 2810 Paces Ferry Road, will have a $25 lunch buffet Saturday, with all money going to the trust.
? Pine Mountain Middle School, which Sara attends and where Jack Hensley once worked as a substitute teacher, planned to take up a collection in the cafeteria Thursday, with proceeds going straight to the family. School officials contacted Thursday would not comment about the event.
? The Associated Press contributed to this article.