The horrific mass shooting that occurred in El Paso, Texas this weekend hit home for Giants G Will Hernandez.
Hernandez lived in the city for years during his days playing for The University of Texas at El Paso, and after hearing about the tragic event, he quickly reached out to as many people as possible to make sure they were OK.
"The first thing I did was I contact all my close friends back in El Paso; everybody was fine thankfully," Hernandez told the media after practice on Monday. "It's still something horrible and I can't imagine what some of the families living there or some of the effect, or people that knew the affected are going through right now. Even though I'm here in New York, I quickly sent out prayers, my love out to the city. That city is really important to me.
"I basically grew up there, I got there when I was 17 years old, left, and I was there for five or six years. It's really, really important to me, I love all the people in El Paso. It gave me so much, it put me on the path that led me to the NFL. El Paso is very dear to my heart and I felt that even being here."
The shooting, which happened at a Walmart in town, has now taken the lives of 22 people -- people that Hernandez could have easily come across during his time in El Paso. Hernandez understands it is a big city, but when it's football season, everyone comes out to watch the UTEP Miners play.
"The cool thing about El Paso, the unique thing about it, it's technically a big city, but it feels so close together," Hernandez explained. "It feels like a small town almost because UTEP is the only football there. Everybody from 45 minutes away to the stadium, to people living right around the stadium, everybody comes to the game. A lot of people come to the games, a lot of people support the UTEP Miners. It gives it that small town feeling in a big city."
Hernandez may have his mind set on starting at left guard in his sophomore season with the Giants, but he'll also be making sure that everyone in his former home is being taken care of.
"Yeah, I will be in constant communication with everybody there making sure everybody is alright, seeing how I can help if there is any way I can help," he said when asked if he'll be reaching out to the community. "Right now, all I can do is give my condolences, talk to the people. I know the people of El Paso, I know the character they have, they are strong people. They are not the type to let something like that completely tear them down, they are strong people."