Varsity basketball boys recognized by City Hall for memorial clean-up

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Varsity basketball boys recognized by City Hall for memorial clean-up

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The city of El Paso called for volunteers to help cleanup and maintain the Cielo Vista Walmart memorial sight out of respect of the Walmart victims. Coaches Raul Lopez and Arturo Gonzalez called for an emergency meeting with the Aztec varsity boys basketball team and decided to volunteer to participate in the clean-up at 6:30 a.m. 

The team was invited by the City Council to a meeting at City Hall to be recognized for dedicating their time and sweat to disposing of dying floral arrangements and more. 

The conference room was filled with members of the council, elementary students, the Eastwood Troopers varsity football team and the Aztec Basketball team. To begin the meeting, the council addressed the shooting near Midland/Odessa and acknowledged Eddie Cruz of Eastwood High School, who died on Monday in a drowning accident.

Later in the meeting, the council began to speak about the volunteers at the clean-up and the involvement of the El Paso Zoo. Volunteers gathered at the memorial sight at 6:30 a.m. and filled black trash bags with wilted flowers and plastic that was donated to the El Paso Zoo for compost.

The varsity team was then asked to stand as they acknowledged their support and assistance with the clean-up. Presenting them with certificates, members stood outside the conference room taking photos with the team. Lopez, junior Jaelin Domingue and senior Jared Wells, were pulled to the side for media interviews to speak about the importance of the community organizing the clean-up and participating. 

“It was important because it showed that we still care,” Domingue said. “It was to show the victims that they will not be forgotten and that us as El Pasoans will do our best to stick together.”

To finish off their trip to City Hall, Lopez and Gonzalez made a quick stop at Tony’s Pit Bar-B-Q to fill the hungry teens’ stomachs as a reward for their good deed. 

“I remember the Monday after the shooting we talked about wanting to help the community in  some way,” Lopez said. “People thought we did it for the publicity but that wasn’t the case. We did because we wanted to and they want to go back, so we are going to go back.”

The basketball team returned to the memorial on Friday, Sept. 13 to continue assisting with maintenance.