Instead of football practice on Saturday, the South Texas Heat Select Youth football team held a barbecue benefit in honor of their teammate. Joshua Earls, a 14-year old, passed away on Thursday, a week after a car struck him. But Saturday afternoon was a day for the community to come together and support someone who they considered family.
Michael Earls, Joshua Earls’ father, said the Earls family stuck by Joshua's side while he was in the hospital.
“Yesterday was the first day we were able to go home, and me seeing his shoes on the floor, was pretty tough,” Michael Earls said. “We’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to live without Josh.”
Joshua Earls, a running back for the South Texas Heat, became close with many of the people he played football with. His teammates, who helped organize the benefit, spoke highly of him.
Adrian Benavides, one of his teammates, described Joshua Earls as a great teammate and friend.
“He would never give up, he would always keep going, always laugh, never got mad. He loved football,” Benavides said.
The money raised at the benefit will go toward medical and funeral expenses for Joshua Earls. Dahvon Monroe, a former teammate, was happy to see so many people attend.
“It hurt, he was like a little brother to me,” Monroe said. “And knowing that you lost your little brother, it’s a big weight on your shoulders.”
Joshua Earls was not only a student, and an athlete, but he was also a loved family member and friend. Those who surrounded Joshua Earls say they won’t forget him.
Demetrius Monroe, a South Texas Heat coach, said Joshua Earls was like a son to him.
“Everything’s not promised,” Demetrius Monroe said, “but at the end of the day, we got to come together as a family, and come as a team to help one another out.”
“Someone told me that God is showing his love for me though all these people,” Michael Earls added. “You know, I never knew this many people loved my son.”
A car hit Joshua Earls while he was crossing Saratoga outside of a crosswalk between Weber and Everhart on December 21. He was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition where he slipped into a coma.