High school football players gain a new perspective by 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 some perspective on the charity work they’re doing.

The hero warmers started just a week ago when David Salinas Jr. of the United Veterans Burial Association heard from a veteran who had broken his heater.

So he brought the idea, to find and give warmers, to his son and his son’s friend, who both play on the Wildcats football team.

“It helps me to 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,” David Salinas said III, a junior quarterback and outside linebacker on the team.

“Just to help the community when you can. I’m just trying to help the veterans who 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.

“Youth is our future. So we have to start guiding them in the right direction and I think we have done that and veterans are a big part of life,” Salinas Jr. said.

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

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

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

In fact, freshman football player Drayson Gamez gave warmups Thursday evening.

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

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

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

Salinas Jr. said there will be no end date for the fundraiser. They will go there whenever it’s cold and people need it. Once it heats up, they’ll find fans again for the veterans who need it during the hot season.

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

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

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