Alamo Heights- April 9th, a community converged upon the high school campus to “help one of their own,” John Munoz, Heights High School teacher, said.
Less than three weeks earlier on March 26th, Eddie Moreno, a “kind”, “determined” and “passionate” senior basketball player, was shot during a road-rage incident, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
According to the San Antonio Express News’s examination of the police report, Moreno and several cousins were driving back home from McDonald’s. As the front passenger and the driver of another car started exchanging words after a near collision, the driver pulled out a gun, and started randomly shooting towards the back of the SUV, eventually hitting Eddie.
Recognizing an opportunity to turn a devastating occurrence into a reason to “make Eddie proud”, students began to plan the event.
“Eddie loved basketball. We figured we would have a small basketball tournament fundraiser, but we never imagined it would turn into something this big. It’s overwhelming. It’s insane how many people showed up,” Kat Slagle, Moreno’s girlfriend, said.
With a population of about 8,000 citizens, the city of Alamo Heights maintains relationships centered on a close community basis.
“This is a chance for people to reaffirm why they live in this district. There’s lots and lots of support— for everything. I’d hate for this to be a sad situation, but [it seems everybody] is coming out to support the Moreno family,” Brent Barry, NBA analyst and former San Antonio Spur, said. The 4X4 tournament was eventually won by the SA Chargers, a team comprised of Clark Lammert, Derek Salas, Lavon Glenn, and Jacob Woods, seniors at Churchill High School.
Despite Slagle’s shock, others weren’t too surprised. Moreno’s position as a point guard on the Mules varsity basketball team made him a crowd favorite and eventually earned him the name “Wetty Eddie”, derived from a tradition of calling “swish shots” “wet”, and Moreno’s “constant swishing”.
“Eddie has a good rapport with the community. I remember he didn’t make the varsity team the first time he tried out, but instead of quitting like most others would do, he stayed on as the team’s manager, working his way onto the team the next year. Jett [Ploetz], other students, and coaches organized this because they know his family is going to have a hard time. [The turnout] doesn’t come as a surprise because of who he is,” Munoz said.
The Moreno family was present, issuing thanks and accepting prayers from the hundreds of attendees. His mother, reportedly having left the hospital for the first time in days, posed for pictures and expressed her immense gratitude for the community’s help during this trying time. Moreno’s young brothers even walked around and fervently offered wristbands and donation information.
While Moreno’s recovery continues and other fundraising measures are conceived, Ryan Moreno, a student at the district’s junior school, keeps high hopes for his older brother.
“He’s a really, really great kid. Although this situation is sad, there’s no doubt in my mind that what the doctors expect, he’ll go above and beyond. That’s just who he is, can’t break steel!” Munoz said, repeating Moreno’s go-to catchphrase “You can’t break steel baby!”
“This morning his parents told him they were coming to the tournament. Even though he can’t really talk or move, Eddie mouthed, “Can I go?” Natalie Guastella, a family friend, said.
Donation Information: May 14th Barbeque Dinner
Support Eddie Facebook Group: AH Eddie Moreno