By Kyla Mora
On the day before Mother’s Day, Kyle resident Savannah Hernandez got a call from her best friend telling her that her house had burned down.
Hernandez returned to find that she had lost just about everything in her home.
On one hand, she was grateful that none of the house’s six residents were home that day.
Her parents were in Corpus Christi, her two children were with her boyfriend, and she was at work. On the other hand, she was now living in a hotel.
“Honestly, I had no idea what we were going to do,” Hernandez said.
Fortunately, faculty and students at her son Derrick de la Zerda’s school knew exactly what to do – throw a party, gather donations, and call in the wrestlers.
That’s how Hernandez and her family found themselves at Pinballz Kingdom in Buda on June 19.
Shortly after hearing news of the fire, Tobias Elementary School’s principal Paige Collier reached out to NWA Pro Wrestling TeXas to organize the “A Night To Give Back” wrestling show.
Half of all ticket proceeds at the event went to benefit Hernandez and her family.
The idea for organizing the benefit, teacher Grace Bohanon Casteneda said, came from the Walk the Path anti-bullying program, which had brought pro wrestlers to the school earlier in the year.
Add to that, the fact that Hernandez’s family loves wrestling, and that her son Derrick had a birthday coming up just after the disaster, the rest fell into place.
The idea to help the family fit perfectly with the school’s belief in “filling buckets,” Casteneda said. It began first, literally, with a coin drive, and then figuratively, with “the best birthday ever.”
“We teach our kids to ‘fill buckets’ with happiness, love, care, and support,” Casteneda said. “We wanted the kids to understand – when you go through a loss as significant as that, what can we do? And our second graders came together behind their classmate with love and joy.”
Hernandez may have been surprised to see signs saying “We love you, Derrick!” and “Pennies for Derrick!” when she came to pick up her son the Thursday after the fire.
But the party floored her, where the entire family was surprised with a wrestling-themed cake, and a chorus of “Happy Birthday” from Derrick’s classmates, and tickets to “A Night to Give Back.”
“A Night to Give Back” showcased pro wrestlers including Ryan Greeness, Shane Taylor, Raymond Rowe, Keith Lee and Chris Marval, and also included a silent auction sponsored by Hays County Radio.
For those unable to attend “A Night to Give Back,” a Gofundme page was launched to collect donations on behalf of Hernandez and her family at www.gofundme.com/ANightToGiveBack.