Guatemalan houseparent killed during robbery Friday

[caption id="attachment_2034" align="alignnone" width="482" caption="Tragedy hits Buckner family -- In a 2007 file photo, Buckner houseparent Marco Orellana (center) sits in the living room of the Buckner Boys' Transitional Home No. 1 in Guatemala City with wife Claudia, daughter Paola (now 5), son Marco Jr. (now 3), and transitional home resident William. Orellana was killed Friday evening by carjackers in an incident Buckner Children and Family Services President Albert Reyes called "a tragedy for the entire Buckner family." "][/caption]

By Russ Dilday
Buckner News Service


GUATEMALA CITY – A much-beloved houseparent at a Buckner Guatemala-operated boys’ transitional home was killed Friday evening in an apparent carjacking.

According to Amed Bendfeldt, country director for Buckner Guatemala, Marco Orellana, 30, was shot by thieves as they attempted to steal his car while Orellana was on a personal errand. Orellana was rushed to a hospital, where he died from his wounds.

Orellana served at the Buckner Guatemala-operated Boys’ Transitional Home No 1 along with his wife Claudia since it opened in 2007. The home is one of two boys’ transitional homes in Guatemala and serves as transitional housing for five-seven boys who are moving from orphanages to independent adult life. Buckner has operated ministries to children and families in Guatemala since 2002.

Albert L. Reyes, President of Buckner Children and Family Services, said Friday the news is “a shock and a tragedy” for all of the Buckner family. “We are mourning Marco’s loss this evening. I encourage prayer for Marco’s wife Claudia, his 5-year-old daughter Paola and 3-year-old son Marco Jr. I want everyone to also please pray for the boys in his care. They will be mourning the loss of a father as well.”

Buckner’s vice president of Global Operations, Randy Daniels, said Orellana was a popular figure among the Buckner Guatemalan staff as well as with many Buckner volunteers. “This will have a deep impact on all of us. Our houseparents are the heart and soul of what we do in transitional care. They are there every day with the kids, mentoring on a daily basis, with a message of hope. Marco epitomized all of that.”

Daniels said Orellana’s death will be felt “in at least three countries. Our Honduran team used the home as a model for transitional care in their country and, because of the high number of Buckner missions teams who’ve traveled to Guatemala over the past few years, hundreds of people know and love Marco.”

Buckner missions director Jeff Jones said Orellana was “effective as a houseparent because he had such an amazing testimony to share with the boys. I’m so saddened by the circumstances of his death. He left the crime of gang life when he met Christ -- and his life was ended like this. He poured himself out for those boys.”

Daniels agreed. “He was a gentle man who loved Christ, loved his wife and children, and loved the boys in his care. You could see from the way he treated Claudia and his children how deeply he cared about them -- and he showed the boys that same depth of love.”

Memorial service details were unknown on Friday. If you would like to write a tribute about Marco or leave a message for his family or the Buckner Guatemala team, leave your comment in the comments section below.

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