By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Belton ISD showcased how much heart the Big Red caring community had on Friday, Oct. 6 in several pre-game activities before the Belton Tigers took the field against Killeen.
Tiger Stadium was in shock as two Tigos showed up at mid field for what appeared to be a special pre-game recognition, but in fact ,turned into a surprise homecoming for the family of Sergeant First Class Pablo Ureste. A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Ureste returned home from a year-long deployment at Camp Humphreys in South Korea.
Sergeant Ureste’s wife, Beatriz Ureste, daughter Arianna, a student at Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow, and sons Pablo and Andy, who attend Sparta Elementary, were given the surprise of a lifetime when the Tigo they were posing for a picture with removed his mask to reveal himself.
Though still in shock and filled with great joy, Arianna Ureste shared that having her dad home “means the world to me” and shared her family’s sentiments of sincere gratitude to the Belton ISD community.
“I know there were many people that made this happen. I just want to say thank you,” said Sergeant Ureste shortly after the big reveal.
Prior to the family’s surprise, all three children and Mrs. Ureste were participating in the district’s annual United Way Kids Campaign Spirit Chain display. Each year, campuses sell strips of red and white construction paper for 25 cents to build their spirit chain. At the end of the week, students are invited to a Friday night home football game to run out on the field and show off the great lengths of their generosity.
Stephanie O’Banion, United Way of Central Texas CEO, who joined the students out on the field during the spirit chain display said, “This tradition is an exciting opportunity for young people to get involved in helping others. It is a great experience that shows just how much every little bit matters.”
Along with contributions from Belton ISD employees, Belton ISD raised more than $15,292 for the United Way of Central Texas this year.
Many of those cheering on the Tigers on to victory last night were wearing pink for Belton High School’s Think Pink, Go Red campaign.
What started in October 2011 as a tribute to a former cheerleader mom and BISD employee, Sherrie Harper, has resulted in more than $70,000 being donated to the Baylor Scott and White Cancer Institute. Those funds are raised through the Belton High School cheerleaders selling bright pink t-shirts across the school district and throughout the community.
Think Pink, Go Red raises awareness and according to Belton High School Cheerleader, Elise Kellner it has, “challenged her to see meaning beyond the color pink and to support those fighting breast cancer now and in the future.”
Adding how much the community excitement and support of their fundraising efforts has meant over the years Kellner, who is a senior this year, said “It is a cool experience to know that our efforts help so many others.”