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The Wildcat Way: Calallen football player donates 'Heaters for Heroes'

Since Salinas started the program, 10 heaters have been given to veterans who have served all over the country.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Even in the midst of post-season football -- one local football player is making sure the veterans in his community are taken care of. 

Earlier Wednesday, 3NEWS caught up with the founder of the Heaters for Heroes program, who shared why leading by example is the best way to inspire.

"When it's football time, it's football time. When we're out here, we're locked in. When we're outside of school, we just go and try to help the community out," said Calallen High School senior Skyler Rubio.

Wanting to help out the community the Wildcat way -- Rubio donated five heaters to the program. 

David Salinas is the founder of the program, and he told 3NEWS that the initiative started with a simple question.

"We were just sitting in the office and a veteran comes in and tells me 'hey man, my heater went out. Do you know anybody who can help us?' I said 'you know what, let's start Heaters for Heroes,'" Salinas said.

Since Salinas started the program, 10 heaters have been given to veterans who have served all around the country.

"From Vietnam veterans, Iraq, Afghanistan veterans. We try to target the veteran that needs it," Salinas said. "The homebound veteran that needs it. The homebound veteran that can't get out, that can't go to the VA, that can't go to Walmart."

Rubio said that the program helps him to do his part for the people who fought for his freedom.

"Sometimes we take that for granted and we don't really show them respect for that. Any little thing we can do for them to help them out and have a better holiday," Rubio said.

When it all comes down to it, Rubio knows that he is more than a football player -- adding that it's important to give back to the community.

"Football is fun and all, but you're not going to have football for your whole life. It's better to have something else other than football that makes you happy. And giving to the community, and helping out and making the world a happier place is better than football," Rubio said.

Salinas said that being selfless starts at home, and that the act passes down to those around you.

"Whoever is at home, whoever is in charge of him, whoever is around him, they're doing the right thing by him," Salinas said. "So it's rubbing off on him and I hope he does the same thing for the underclassmen."

Rubio hopes the young fans of Wildcat County can learn how to lead by example like he did.

"Spread love and help the community when you can and try to be a leader, not a follower," Rubio said.

Salinas will be accepting heaters until the end of December. For more information, residents can call Salinas at 361-668-5715.

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