STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — When Marble Falls High School head football coach Mike Birdwell held the first official donation effort for the Our Day To Shine benevolent fund last August, he had no idea how it would impact a family in Mustang Nation.
But that impact is one of the reasons Birdwell and the Mustangs are hosting another effort this year during the Aug. 24 scrimmages.
Our Day To Shine is the Texas High School Coaches Association Education Foundation fundraiser that gives money to the families of coaches and athletes in need.
After the death of Marble Falls High School student and Lady Mustang soccer player Maribel Nikole Enriquez in a car accident June 9, head girls soccer coach Cory Maxwell contacted officials at the education foundation asking if it could help his player’s family with funeral expenses. The foundation donated $3,000 to Enriquez’s family.
To help others who may need assistance, the Mustangs and Liberty Hill High School teams and coaches are asking fans to reach into their pockets to raise money for Our Day To Shine during the upcoming scrimmages between the two football programs.
The scrimmages begin with the subvarsity teams at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive. The varsities will follow.
As fans enter Mustang Stadium, they’ll have the opportunity to donate to the benevolent fund.
“You want to pay it forward for someone else and pay it back for one of your own,” Birdwell said. “The community of Liberty Hill and ours, we’ll rise up at the end and support the fund.”
The coach noted Enriquez had the qualities of her family and so many of the Mustangs living here: grit, toughness, and strength. When word spread about her death, people gave generously to support the family. Super Taco, her place of employment, raised $6,000, and the family raised $3,400. This was in addition to the $3,000 from the coaches association’s benevolent fund.
“People rallied around them,” he said. “You never know when tragedy is going to strike. As long as I’m here, we’re going to continue to do that. For us and many other schools in Texas, it’s a no-brainer.”
More than 900 schools across the state have participated in the fundraiser and collected more than $514,000 with THSCA paying out more than $536,000 to athletes and coaches across Texas with special needs or hardships.