It wan an emotional moment for the Moon Valley football team as they took the field for the first time since the death of their teammate 16 year-old Carlos Sanchez.
All week long there has been nothing but support for the Moon Valley community. Schools and random strangers from around the Valley have offered to help out and show they too are #CarlosStrong.
Shawn Koawili, is the president of the Moon Valley High School Booster Club. He's been at the center of fundraising efforts for the family. He says it’s been very special to see the tremendous amount of support.
“The family is very grateful of what we're doing to help them out,” he says.
All three of Koawili’s kids go to Moon Valley and all knew Carlos Sanchez. His oldest, a senior, was a teammate of Carlos’s, his daughter is a cheerleader and knew Carlos, and his youngest, a sophomore, knew him from school. It’s a loss they are all struggling to deal with.
“As long as we're there for them just let them know we're here,” Koawili added.
As Carlos’s team takes to the grid iron, his teammates will wear his number on their helmets, they’ll carry his memory in their hearts, and their quarterback will honor Carlos with a custom pair of cleats made by British Peña, a member of the community who wanted to show his support.
"They were all Moon Valley theme and then, just had the CarlosStrong, In Memory of Carlos, and then I threw up his portrait on there,” says Peña.
When Peña heard about Sanchez’s death he said he knew he had to help. So he reached out to the Moon Valley booster club, who arranged for him to meet with the teams quarterback, Isaiah Southwick, to create the cleats. 16 hours later, they were delivered to Southwick last night.
“He was just really thankful, he was honored, he couldn't stop thanking me, uh, gave me a big hug,” said Peña.
He also plans to raffle off a pair of custom made cleats and all proceeds will of to the family and the Moon Valley booster club will be facilitating the raffle.
As the team takes the field at 7p.m. against Peoria High School, they’ll be holding a special tribute to honor Carlos Sanchez. A young man described by his coach, Seth Millican, as a “symbol of all that is pure, all that is good, and all that is selfless in the human spirit.”