High school football players gain a new perspective by helping veterans

The Calallen Wildcats football team is gearing up for their biggest game of the year on Fridaybut some of the players get a little insight from the charity work they do.

Heater for Heroes was started just a week ago when David Salinas Jr. of the United Veterans Burial Association heard from a veteran that his heater had broken.

So he came up with the idea, to find and donate heaters, to his son and his son’s friend, who both play for 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 myself outside of football,” said David Salinas III, a junior quarterback and outside linebacker on team.

“Just to help the community when you can. We’re just trying to help the veterans who do so much for us, so why not do a little for them this holiday?” said Skyler Rubio, 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’ve done that, and veterans are an important part of life,” Salinas Jr. said.

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

“It was something that just came at the right time for them,” said Samuel Juarez, 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 do it. GOOD.”

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

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

“It teaches them that there are other things besides football,” said Salinas Jr. “There are people out there that need help, that could use the help. Most children are not aware of what is there. “

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

“I hope it means a lot to them,” Rubio said. “You would help 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 as long as it’s cold and people need it. Once it warms up, they’ll be back to find fans for veterans in need during the warm season.

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

If you’re a veteran who needs a heater or wants 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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