South Texas community unifies to help grieving families in Alice
The Alice community came together on Saturday, Jan. 30, to support local families who lost four young men between the ages of 18 and 25 in a vehicle accident near Mathis the previous weekend.
The men, Julian Reyna, Noam Ortiz, Ruben Gonzalez Jr. and Kanyon Alegria were four of the six people who passed away on Saturday, Jan. 23 as their vehicle crashed head-on with a Dodge Van. Two others, Trent Ryan Edge and Helena Paige-Marie Dumas from San Antonio, were occupants in the van also died from their injuries and three more people were taken to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries.
The families reached out to the community for funeral assistance through GoFundMe accounts and local fundraisers.
The Veterans of Foreign Affairs (VFW) Post 8621 in Alice donated the venue. Rick Medina owner of 19th Hole Bar and Grill, Daniel Monsevais owner of Monster Smokehouse BBQ and Rick Bernal from the Men's ACTS Community organized the fundraiser.
"We brought our barbecue pits out to the VFW, fired up the pits around five in the morning and started cooking," Bernal said. "We had close to 500 people show up and buy plates, donate cookies and cakes, multiple people throughout the community donated money and bought the food."
Alice in Wonderland food truck park only sold Valentine's items on Saturday and sent their customers to the VFW to support the event.
"The city really came together and it was moving to see the unity in our community for these family members," Bernal added. "I feel like we all need that right now."
The plate sale raised over $7,000 to help family members with funeral expenses.