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Houston Texans

Texans donate equipment to GISD


The Texans teamed up with Douglas Pads and the National Football League to donate more than 350 sets of pads and 100 footballs to the Galveston Independent School District.

Defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina represented the Texans on Thursday in a small ceremony at Ball High School. Zgonina, a 16th-year pro, is a man of few words, but his actions spoke volumes to the students assembled in the school's gymnasium.

He teamed up with Douglas Pads to deliver more than 350 sets of pads and 100 footballs to the Galveston Independent School District, which is recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Ike.

"It's very special," GISD athletic director Sandra Howell said. "We are very thankful and grateful that we were chosen for this opportunity. The coaches and the players will love it. I had to call my other shoulder pad rep and tell them in advance, 'Don't get your feelings hurt. We are getting some Douglas Pads.' Most football coaches will tell you that they really enjoy those pads because they are quality and specialty pads, and the kids are going to love them."

{QUOTE}When Hurricane Ike devastated the island on Sept. 13, many of the players returned to ruined homes and damaged football equipment and athletic facilities. Ike destroyed all of the district's middle school football equipment.

"After the storm, we were struggling," Ball High defensive tackle Leland Brown said. "We had to get all our equipment from all over the place. We need this equipment so we can get back to our old ways, like we were before the storm."

The donated equipment, which is considered top of the line in the NFL, will allow the high school program to send its current supply to the middle school teams.

"We lost everything in the middle school," Ball High football coach Ron Holmes said. "The equipment we had at the high school we will give to the middle school. They need it badly."

The students were not only thankful for the equipment, they were humbled by the man making the delivery.

"It you've been around sports, you know that young athletes always look up to professional athletes," Howell said. "Anytime they can be around professional, it's always a good day. They enjoy it when they get to interact with them. They are their role models, and it's always good to see them giving back to the community."

Zgonina, who would like to play one more year before retiring, said he knew the donations greatly would impact the Galveston community.

"When you come down here, you see empty lots," Zgonina said. "People have lost everything. I don't know how they have functioned in this community.

"But the kids, they just want to play. That's their way to get away from all their other problems. It's great to see because they have smiles on their faces. They are happy to get the equipment and they just want to go out and play."

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