Just days after a fatal accident, the family of a Selma teen is speaking out for the first time.
“He was an amazing kid. I loved him as my own brother,” said Yvonne Gonzalez, the sister-in-law of Ramon Gonzalez.
For three years, Ramon Gonzalez played youth football as a Selma Bandit. The 16-year-old ultimately wanted to play Varsity football at Selma High School.
Ask Ramon Gonzalez’s former coaches about his toughness. They are witnesses.
“The kid spent two days trying to walk that off, thinking it was just a sprain,” said Tony Vargas, Gonzalez’s head coach with the Selma Bandits.
Not a sprain — a broken ankle when Ramon played for the Bandits. But still a leader a month and a half later, Coach Vargas says Ramon returned, in time for the playoffs.
“This kid comes to practice thinking he’s gonna play and he couldn’t walk just yet but he was trying,” said Vargas.
“But it was that heart. That heart was the biggest thing he had,” said Robert Fabela, assistant coach for the Bandits.
And a mantra he carried with him to Selma High School.
“Once a bandit, always a bandit,” said Fabela.
Ramon made the JV squad as a Selma Bear and his old coaches continued to watch him from the sideline.
“First thing out of his mouth is ‘how did I do? What did I do wrong?,'” said Vargas.
When Ramon wasn’t on the football field, you could find him on his dirt bike. But last Saturday, Ramon’s last ride turned deadly when he crashed into a big rig truck. His sister-in-law got the call from her husband.
“All his words were ‘my baby brother is dead’. That’s all he kept on shouting and shouting. And I was like, this can’t be real because who hears those words?,” said Yvonne Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says Ramon wanted to become a mechanic and had just become an uncle to her baby girl.
“Soon as she came out he loved her,” said Gonzalez.
Bandit coaches say they’ll miss him helping out at practice and being a role model to the youth.
“His actions will continue to live through every single day as long as we as coaches step on that field,” said Fabela.
“We all wish that we had visit him more and spend more time with him because he was just that good of a kid. You couldn’t spend enough time with him,” said Gonzalez.
If you’d like to help Ramon’s family, here’s the GoFundMe link: www.gofundme.com/funeral-services-for-ramon-gonzalez