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Santa Fe HS tragedy 4 years later: Couple builds new life after loss

After losing their "Grammy," Cynthia Tisdale, in the Santa Fe High School shooting in 2018, the Tisdale family opened Still Waters Ranch in her honor.

SANTA FE, Texas — Wednesday marks four years since the Santa Fe High School shooting on May 18, 2018.

One of the victim’s families turned their grief into good. They took the worst day of their lives and used their motivation to help others celebrate the best day of their lives at Still Waters Ranch.

In the peace and quiet of Still Waters, Jennifer and Recie Tisdale found a new dream and healing.

“It’s been great for us. We needed it," Jennifer said.

“For me, it was a way to help her and help teach our children that tragedy ... bad things happen in life, but you always have to move forward," Recie said.

In 2018, they lost his mother, substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale, in the Santa Fe High School shooting.

“It’s impacted our lives and it will forever and we will never forget that day," Jennifer said.

Jennifer was a teacher for 19 years and Recie was in law enforcement for 25. After the shooting, they knew they needed a change.

“We don’t know anything about the wedding business. We just decided to go for it," Recie said.

The couple bought a piece of property, built a banquet hall and open-air chapel and started booking brides.

“I feel like I have 156 daughters right now because they all text, call, email, all the time," Jennifer said.

The Tisdales never looked back.

“I think our story has helped a lot of people, I hope it has. I hope we’ve been inspirational to some people," Jennifer said.

It wasn’t just the loss of Grammy the Tisdales had to overcome. They also lost Grammy’s husband, Poppy, five months later and decided they would dedicate their new dream to their memory.

“When we decided to do this one of the big things was the name," Jennifer said.

For inspiration, Recie thought about his dad, a former Baptist minister.

“We had the little lake back there and the bayou and I said, 'He leads me beside still waters.'So I said why not use Still Waters?" Recie said.

The psalm hangs above the entrance, a gift from a bride.

“That’s the kind of thing that makes this job so great," Jennifer said.

A reminder that every time they book a wedding, they retell their story.

“It’s so hard to not be angry and resentful," she said.

But a chance after the worst day of their life, to be there for someone’s best.

“It’s people’s lives and their future, it’s just a great place to be, a good atmosphere," Recie said.

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