What started as a church project has now become a community project, said Dare Stevens, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Elida.
Locals said in response to the impact brothers Ronald and Fred Anthony had on the community of Elida, community members are picking up where the brothers left off on the construction of the church's playground, following the brothers' deaths in an automobile accident last week.
"They were really the best in the community," Stevens said. "They were leaders, they were faithful in the church, they were good friends and most of all, they made everyone feel like family."
Last week the Anthony brothers were killed in a two vehicle accident on U.S. 70 near mile marker 380 in Chaves County. The two were returning from gathering sand from the Pecos River for the church playground.
Memorial services for the brothers were held Monday, and community members say this is still a very hard time for them.
"They're still coping with the loss; the entire Elida community has come together to support each other as a family," Stevens said. "It's just a matter of family. They're caring for each other and sharing a moment of sadness."
While still mourning, community members gathered to continue to build the church playground. According to church member Joel Moore, a rancher from Elida, the playground project started with at least 10 church members pitching in, including the Anthony brothers. Now other community members are lending a helping had.
One community member volunteered to go get the sand the brothers lost in the accident, Moore said. With the extra help, the playground, consisting of a swing set, basketball hoop and jungle gym, should be complete by Saturday.
Moore said the brothers' actions spoke highly of their character and their dedication to Christ as well as the community.
"I think it shows their Christian love to the community and their courage," Moore said. "(Their death) has been extremely difficult."
Ronald's wife, Glenda Anthony, said it's no surprise that the community has banded together to finish this project.
"That's just this community, they pick up and do whatever needs to be done," Glenda said. "They are incredible."
In addition to the community honoring the men by completing this project, family members said the community has shown support in many ways.
"There has not been a day that someone hasn't been here to check on us to see if we need anything and they're not empty offers," Glenda said.
She added that her husband and brother-in-law's dedication to help others went beyond this playground.
"It really didn't matter if it was a playground or anything else," she said. "Both men were apt to volunteer to do whatever the community wanted," she said. "They have been in the church all their lives."
Fighting back tears, Glenda Anthony said the brothers would be touched by the community's efforts.
"Well, as my husband would say, 'I love you,'" she added.