In the wake of the tragedy that struck in May when a gunman opened fire inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the Houston Texans found a way to help the community heal. Players, coaches, and staff from the Texans surprised the Uvalde Coyotes High School football program with a donation of brand-new uniforms this week ahead of the school’s first home game since the shooting.
“It was just special to see the smiles on their faces because we know that this city was impacted drastically,” Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey said on Good Morning Football. “Being a leader and not just being a football player but being somebody that can be an extra shoulder to lean on definitely warmed something in my heart. We’re just excited to be here and honored to be here and be here with the city and let them know that we support them in every way.”
Shortly after the shooting massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers along with the shooter, the Texans organization donated $400,000 to the Robb Elementary Foundation. A $200,000 player donation was matched by contributions from the owners of the Texans team.
“Our football team, a bunch of young men, wanted to make some type of statement,” Texans head coach Lovie Smith said. “They got together, asked (what) can you do in tough times like this? You can try to make people’s lives a little bit better. Our football team got together, led by them, and raised over $200,000 to try to help the people, the community.”
When the Texans take the field against the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, players will don “Uvalde Strong” stickers on their helmets to show support for the community. The Texans made the announcement via Twitter on September 2, saying simply, “We stand with Uvalde.”
Texans CEO Cal McNair, Houston Texans Foundation vice president Hannah McNair, Smith, and Director of Player Care and Sports Medicine Roland Ramirez -a Uvalde native- joined Kirksey and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill to make the unscheduled visit on September 1 during the varsity football team dinner to announce the donation of uniforms and equipment.
Nike partnered with the Texans to make the donation of uniforms and equipment possible. Nike is the official supplier of jerseys and equipment to the NFL, a role the corporation has held since 2012.
The school that was the scene of the largest mass school shooting in Texas history and the third-most deadly school shooting on record in modern U.S. history is permanently closed and is scheduled to be demolished. A new facility will be built on the location, but the project is still in the design phase.
Since the tragedy, more than $16 million has been reportedly donated to the Uvalde Together We Rise fund to support the victims’ families and aid the community in recovering. Millions more have been allocated by local, state, and federal agencies to provide counseling services and other aid.
Initial payments of $10,000 to 25,000 from the Together We rise fund will begin to be disbursed on September 8, more than five months after the shooting.