Those Who Helped Supposed Katrina Victim React To Bogus Story - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

9/27/05-Tyler

Those Who Helped Supposed Katrina Victim React To Bogus Story

East Texas saw a man going through hard times and naturally wanted to help. "He was one of those individuals that for whatever purpose needed to tell the story. And we listened," says Pastor Jeff Wilson of First Christian Church. Wilson offered to hold memorial services at his church for Walter Stall's supposed deceased wife and son. He has now learned the story is not true. "It's not the first but you know it won't be the last time that we've been taken. But it is a disappointment it's always a disappointment, particularly when there's so much need and so much out there of pain and anguish and genuine stories. What I would hate is for people to stop helping someone else who has a real need and real stories that just would break your heart, just because someone wants to jerk the system." Mission Pastor Steve Rumpf at Grace Community Church met Walter at a Sunday service. He didn't hesitate about the idea of officiating the funeral that, at this point, will not be happening.

"We had absolutely no awareness of that nor would we be inclined to look into it! And that's the concern. It bothers me that the person who would do this just sort of ruins it for everybody else because people have the tendency to say 'I told you so' and he just add fuel to the fire of the skeptic who says don't believe any of these stories and that's too bad," says Rumpf. While anger would be the response for some, these pastors say their reaction in the future would still be done with love. KLTV 7's Christine Nelson asks, "So if Walter Stall were to walk into this building for help you would still welcome him with open arms and give him help?" Wilson replies, "I would do as much as what I understand Christ would in terms of scripture." Rumpf adds, "I'd rather at the end of my life be found guilty of giving away too many cups of cold water as to refuse to people often. So I don't think it will change me much."

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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