SANTA FE, Texas (FOX 26) - The President of Houston Dynamo paid a visit to Santa Fe, a community that's still healing after last month’s deadly school shooting, and he didn’t arrive empty handed.
In one hand was a signed soccer ball. “Signed by the entire team,” said Canetti, who came to town bearing gifts. He also carried with him a nearly $30,000 check for some amazing young ladies. They are seniors who just graduated from Santa Fe High School and they’re the founders of the non-profit group Hearts United.
"It’s just a movement to spread kindness and love and raise awareness for mental health,” explains Hearts United co-founder Kaitlyn Richards. Several girls started the group after 10 people were killed at their school and more than a dozen others were injured in the tragic school shooting on May 18, 2018.
"It’s really helpful to have things going on. There are so many events in the community right now it’s keeping everyone busy and everyone’s mind off of it (the tragedy) which helps tremendously,” says Katie Oldham, who is also a Hearts United co-founder.
"I think it’s healthier for us to be together in this time. They’ve really helped me get through this,” adds Madison McCaskill, who also helped start Hearts United.
Hearts United plans to use the thousands of donated Dynamo dollars for everything from scholarships to billboards with messages of kindness. "We knew there would probably be support for it (Hearts United) but the overwhelming amount of support for it is just so awe inspiring,” Richards says smiling.
Another gift from Houston Dynamo? "This banner was held by both teams, the Dynamo and New York City, during the national anthem. Then we put it in the concourse and all the fans were able to send nice messages,” Canetti explains.
Miranda wrote on the banner, “Stay strong and may God bless all in Santa Fe”.
"It’s just another part of the healing process. It just shows how much love we have coming from Houston and all around the country,” says Santa Fe Mayor Jason Tabor. The Dynamo also gave tickets to 150 first responders in Santa Fe so they can attend Saturday’s game.
So many gifts for one common goal, to help this community heal. "We have a long, long road ahead of us,” says Mayor Tabor.