SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Local celebrities and students are sending donations and prayers to the victims of the partial condo collapse in Surfside and their families.
Miami Heat captain Udonis Haslem walked towards the Surfside Wall of Hope with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Wednesday to lay flowers and write a heartwarming message.
“It’s emotional for me. It’s hard to fight back, feeling pain and tears,” said Haslem. “For me, being a part of Miami and staying in Miami was never about basketball. It was always bigger than basketball for me, and this breaks my heart.”
Haslem wrote, “Our hearts are broken for those who have passed. We pray for them, and we pray for peace for all the families.”
“So much love and pain on this little wall, and to have the Miami Heat come and this great player come, and he’s really reflecting how we all feel,” said Cava. “We’re so grateful for a towering man to come and show his love and support for the community.”
“The Miami Heat organization has always been a first-class organization,” said Wall of Hope creator Leo Soto. “They’ve already started the supportsurfside.org organization, which gives money directly to the families involved, so this is just another step they’re taking in showing their support for the community.”
Soto started the Wall of Hope, printing pictures and setting up the flowers.
“I never expected it to grow this much to help this many people. It’s just been really stunning,” he said.
The Crisis Response Canines also made an appearance, providing much-needed comfort.
“They provide decompression for first responders for those impacted by the tragedy, and we have also visited with some families that are here who have lost loved ones,” said Sophia Barrett.
At Somerset Academy in South Miami, students have taken a break from summer to volunteer.
“They’re not just going out and purchasing something, they wanted to give up their time, so they’re here today organizing items to donate, and they’re writing letters of hope and encouragement to the victims and their families and notes of thanks to the first responders on the scene,” said teacher Bianca Pittaluga.
Students packed the bus with water, comforters and other items needed by those affected.
“If they escaped and survived this, they most likely basically lost everything that they owned,” said student Charli Gutierrez. “We’re trying to give back.”
People are doing whatever they can to help, because the effects of the tragedy for so many is just insurmountable.
“I will continue to pray for everybody. I pray every night, and I continue to pray. I’ve been praying since I was a kid, and it has worked for me so far, so I will continue to pray,” Haslem said.
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