Edward May moved to Milwaukee and started as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church just five months before the church went up in flames.
On May 15th, 2018, he and other parishioners stood outside the church in awe, getting choked up and crying as the fire burned.
Many items were saved including the altar, pulpit, baptismal fountain, lectern, some pews, a large cross, and some paintings. A team at Conrad Schmitt Studios is restoring them.
Pastor May said fire also spared some of the wood in and outside the church.
While the church is being restored, the church community gathers for Mass every Sunday at Krause Funeral Home.
In the meantime, support from complete strangers continues to pour in.
"We know it's a caring community, but this just magnifies it," Pastor May said. "You can be at a restaurant and someone says, 'I know who you are and would you take a donation?' It's just amazing."
The full rebuild is expected to take about three more years. The goal is to keep the final product as close to the original design as possible.