Bo Jackson showed up for the state of Texas in a huge way.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, the athlete, 59, revealed that he was an anonymous donor three days after the shooting at Robb Elementary took place.
Jackson, who didn’t grow up in the area or know anyone affected, felt compelled to help as the town had been a regular stop for food and groceries during his many long drives west. “Uvalde is a town that sticks in your mind. Just the name,” Jackson said. “I don’t know a soul there. It just touched me.”
As a father of three, the two-sport athlete also connected to the victims’ families, many of whom were parents saying goodbye to their children. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old,” Jackson told the outlet, “It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids. It’s just not right.
“I know every family there probably works their butts off just to do what they do,” he continued. “The last thing they needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened.”
On May 24, 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos entered the school through an open back door and began firing more than 100 rounds inside two fourth-grade classrooms. A total of 21 people were killed, including two teachers and 19 children.
Three days after the tragedy, Jackson and a close friend flew to Uvalde to meet with Gov. Greg Abbott and present a check for $170,000 to pay for all funeral expenses.
Abbott went on to announce the donation in a May 27 news conference but kept the donor anonymous, the AP reported. Abbott’s office told the outlet the check was “quickly directed to cover funeral costs.”
“The true spirit of our nation is Americans lifting up one another in times of need and hardship,” Abbott told the AP. “In a truly selfless act, Bo covered all funeral expenses for the victims’ families so they would have one less thing to worry about as they grieved.”
As for why Jackson kept his donation anonymous, he said he didn’t want to draw attention away from the victims.
“No one knew we were there,” he said. “I don’t want to turn this into anything [but] what it is. I was just trying [with the donation] to put a little sunshine in someone’s cloud, a very dark cloud.”
America…let’s please stop all the nonsense. Please pray for all victims. If you hear something, say something. We aren’t supposed to bury our children. I’m praying for all of the families around the country who have lost loved ones to senseless shootings. This cannot continue.
— Bo Jackson (@BoJackson) May 25, 2022
On the day of the shooting, Jackson tweeted his frustration to the news. “America…let’s please stop all the nonsense. Please pray for all victims,” he wrote. “If you hear something, say something. We aren’t supposed to bury our children.”
“I’m praying for all of the families around the country who have lost loved ones to senseless shootings,” Jackson said, “This cannot continue.”
This is far from the first time the athlete has helped a community through his philanthropic efforts. Jackson also organizes Bo Bikes Bama, an annual bike ride charity that raises money for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund in Alabama, CBS Sports reported.