Hockey Foundation Creates Fundraiser for Family of Casper Teacher and Son Killed in Crash
On Monday, the community was rocked to its core by the news that Mauro Diaz - a Science teacher from Natrona County High School - as well as his son, Mateo Diaz - a 3rd Grader from Park Elementary - were killed in a head-on collision outside of Thermopolis, Wyoming.
It's one of those tragic stories that grabs your heart, and rips it out.
According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the vehicle crash happened at milepost 121.4, south of Thermopolis, Wyoming. It occurred at approximately 10:00 a.m.
K2 Radio News previously reported that "A 2016 Cadillac Escalade was headed south on US 20 when the driver attempted to pass a southbound vehicle and collided head-on with the Diaz family’s 2014 BMW X-6 traveling northbound.
Both father and son were properly restrained, but Mauro succumbed to his injuries at the scene, and Mateo was transported to Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The driver of the other vehicle also succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
When the story came out, the community was devastated. Countless tributes poured out on social media, all of which detailed the impact that both Mauro and Mateo had on those around them.
Mateo played for the Casper Oilers Hockey Team, and countless teammates left their hockey sticks out, in a tribute to a boy gone too soon.
"Our teammate, Mateo, made quite an impression on everyone he came into contact with. Many of us knew him from the time he was born and enjoyed watching him grow up and follow in the hockey footsteps of his brothers" the Oilers wrote on their Facebook page.
Now, the team is partnering with Dawg Nation, an organization that helps out hockey families when they're facing hardships. Dawg Nation has set up a fundraiser, benefitting the Diaz family, and they actually match the funds raised by up to $7,500.
The description on the fundraiser page said that Mauro was a leader in his community.
"Today, we learned of a horrifying car accident that has devastated our neighbors to the north this past weekend," the description read. "On Saturday morning, Mauro Diaz was travelling with his family on US-20 about two hours from home when their car was struck head on by another driver.
"Mauro Diaz and his son Mateo unfortunately, did not survive the crash and Mateo’s mother is left recovering from severe injuries. She will require ongoing medical care for some time.
"Mauro was a highly respected science teacher at Natrona County High School and formerly at Dean Morgan Junior High. Mauro, was Native to Juarez, Mexico and became a U.S. Citizen at age 22. Mauro became a teacher in order to serve his community. He was a teaching ambassador for the US Department of Education in 2014 and was quoted as saying,
'I feel a sense that I need to give back.'"
That is the kind of man that Mauro Diaz was. He gave back. He inspired his students to be kind, to give when they could. And now, the community has the opportunity to do that as well.
The fundraiser page also noted that the Diaz family are 'A hockey family through and through.'
A letter, which nominated the Diaz family for this fundraising effort, explained just how much hockey played a role in the family's lives.
"This is a wonderful hockey family who has donated many hours to helping make our club a success," the letter read. "Jack and Diego have played hockey since they were 6 or 7. They are young men, highly motivated, competitive, and examples of integrity. They have both been elected Captains and Assistant Captains of their respective hockey teams over the years and are loved by their teammates and their families."
The post from the Casper Oilers announcing the fundraiser has already been shared more than 100 times, and it's sure to be shared even more than that when all is said and done. That's because when the people in this community suffer such a great loss, they want to do anything they can to help. Money doesn't make this story better. But it will help the Diaz family as they try to rebuild and move forward. More than anything, it will remind them that they are not alone in this.
The link to the Dawg Nation fundraising page can be found here.