(HONOLULU) - Aiea High School defensive back Kainoa Raguindin didn't know Kahuku football star Keoni Tafuna, but he didn't need to meet the senior from Laie who passed away in November, in order to feel a bond with him and his family.
When word spread state wide about Tafuna's death in November Raguindin had just one question…how do I help?
"When i found out that day, it wasn't until that night, my mom looked it up (story's on Tafuna's death) and I felt like I don't know if it was a message from god, but I just felt like there's something inside of me, that you should do something." Said Raguindin.
In the middle of the night the 18 year old told his mother that he wanted to start a fund raising effort, like the one his coach began in 2005 for a fallen Kapolei High player who died. It would be anonymous and no specific amount would be asked for. Next, Raguindin sought out the man he knew could help him, Aiea football coach Wendall Say.
"Whenever you have those quiet players who don't talk much, their thoughts, especially in a letter, get expressed very well...for someone like Kainoa to pour his heart into what he thought and he asked if i could send it to all the schools and I thought yeah, why not, I felt the same way, it's not just a tragedy to kahuku, I'm sure everyone felt the same way."
With the help from his coaches, Raguindin contacted roughly a dozen schools with the wish of setting up a collection to help Tafuna's family cover the expenses of the funeral. About half of the schools agreed to accept donations and after two weeks each donation was handed to Keoni Tafuna's family during his services this past Saturday.
"It's hard to put an amount, especially in the economy right now, i think just whatever anyone could donate, just from the heart, could be pennies, could be dollars, whatever, we went around, collected I'm not sure how much, but it's just something for the family, hopefully being able to help." Say said.
Raguindin says never tallied the money, he says it wasn't about the amount, but the gesture between football families.
"Just for everybody to understand how much football is and how much it means to us kids and just to bring Hawaii together, if everybody sees how close we are as a family, like how the Hawaii lifestyle is and should be. Like that boy (Tafuna), i don't know him, but that's my brother."
If you want to make a monetary donation please make the checks payable to: THE TAFUNA FAMILY.
There is no account set up, so donors should contact Kahuku High School Coach Reggie Torres or Aiea High School Coach Wendall Say, through the schools offices.
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