SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (December 2, 2012) Normally, Thanksgiving break for college students means coming home to mom’s cooking, Thanksgiving dinner with family and three days worth of leftovers before having to pack up and get back to school.
But for Oklahoma Panhandle State University freshman tight end, Aubrey Oswalt, making the trip home from Oklahoma to San Marcos, TX wouldn’t be the end of his journey.
The former San Marcos Academy quarterback/cornerback decided to give back during his Thanksgiving break and assist two former Academy alumni before making the trek back to Goodwell.
Oswalt decided to volunteer for Gridrion Heroes. He was one of over 25 students from Texas State University and the University of Texas-San Antonio and Gridiron Heroes volunteers that sold rally towels benefitting the spinal cord injury foundation as fans walked into the Alamodome for the I-35 Rivalry matchup of Texas State and UTSA.
Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation provides immediate and long term resources and support to individuals sustaining a catastrophic spinal cord injury through activities associated with high school football. Gridiron Heroes is a 501 (C) 3 Non-Profit organization.
Oswalt got to know former SMA Bear Chris Canales through projects with his father’s company, Sports Marketing Experts.
On November 2, 2001, Chris Canales, a senior defensive back playing for San Marcos Academy, sustained a spinal cord injury during the fourth quarter of his final regular season game. Chris lay motionless on the field for 19 minutes. The next three weeks, Chris fought for his life. The following months he battled through rehabilitation trying to gain movement and learning how to function as a quadriplegic.
Chris’ injury and the lack of any organized support system for families prompted his father, Eddie Canales, the Canales family and former coach Mike Kipp to begin discussions about the desperate need for an organization for families who were forced to deal with the consequences of this devastating injury.
Last year, Eddie Canales was nominated as a CNN Hero of the year.
About 5,000 Gridiron Heroes rally towels were available at tailgate areas and all entrances prior to kickoff.
The towels were produced at a reduced cost to Gridiron Heroes by Rivercity Sportswear.
“It’s fun to be a part of it,” said Oswalt, who helped load boxes of towels into carts and assisted directly in sales. “I’m excited to be in Texas for Thanksgiving break. It’s a special time of year. All the sharing, giving, appreciate, it comes with a great day and a good game between teams from my home area in the Alamodome.”