High school football players gain new perspective helping veterans


The Calallen Wildcats football team may be preparing for the biggest game of the year on Friday, but some of the players are getting a little perspective from the charity work they’re doing.

Heaters for heroes was started only a week ago when David Salinas Jr. of the United Veterans Burial Association heard from a veteran that his heater was broken.

So he brought the idea, to find and donate space heaters, to his son and his son’s friend, who both play for the Wildcats football team.

“It helps me know that I’m invested in the community whether it’s not necessarily doing something on the field for the football team, but for something bigger than me outside of football,” said David Salinas III, a junior quarterback and outside linebacker on the team.

“Just to help the community out when you can. Just trying to help the veterans that do so much for us, so why not do a little for them during the holidays?” Skyler Rubio said, a senior wide receiver and safety.

“The youth is our future. So, we got to kind of start guiding them in the right direction and I believe that we’ve done that and veterans are a big part of life,” Salinas Jr. said.

So far, 15 space heaters have been donated to a veteran in need.

“It was something that just came at the right time for them.” Samuel Juarez said, secretary and Chaplin of the United Veterans Burial Association. “They said they really appreciate someone taking time out of their day just to make sure they’re doing OK.”

The hope is the impact the charity work has on the young men will spread and more veterans can be helped.

In fact, a freshman football player Drayson Gamez donated heaters Thursday evening.

“It’s teaching them there’s other things other than football,” said Salinas Jr. “There’s people out there that need help, that could use the help. Most kids aren’t aware of what’s out there. “

Salinas said it’s impressive seeing how the football players have stepped up. He said it started with some seniors, then a junior got involved and it’s moved its way down to freshmen getting involved.

“I hope it means a lot to them,” said Rubio. “Helping them out helps me feel good, so. Anything to help them during the holidays and have a better year.”

Salinas Jr. said there will be no end date to the fundraiser. They’ll go as long as it’s cold and people are in need. Once it warms up they’ll go back to finding fans for veterans in need during the hot season.

The Wildcats take on Boerne in San Antonio Friday night in the regional finals.

If you’re a veteran in need of a heater or you want to get involved, Salinas Jr. said to call his office and mention heaters for heroes. His office number is 361-668-5715.

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