Hearn, Rangers find joy in giving back

November 23rd, 2021
Kelly Gavin

ARLINGTON -- hopes to help bring Rangers fans a World Series one day. Staying connected to the community in Dallas-Fort Worth is important for him and the rest of his teammates.

So it was no shock that Kiner-Falefa was one of many Rangers players and staff participating in the Texas Rangers Youth Academy’s Thanksgiving turkey distribution event. Pitchers , , and , along with Major League assistant strength and conditioning coach Al Sandoval, were all in attendance at the Youth Academy for the occasion.

All frequent the Rangers’ community events, and the ones who stay in DFW during the offseason continue the efforts through the winter months.

“It’s just a way to stay together,” Kiner-Falefa said. “The community means so much to us. The more we can be in touch with our fans and our people and just give it back and giving them opportunities to just have a good family time and enjoy themselves, it means a lot.

“Any time [we] have a chance to give back just makes us feel good. And there's a lot of crazy things that happened last year. So just having the opportunity to come back and make a difference, it means a lot to everybody in the community.”

The Texas Rangers Youth Academy partnered with the nonprofit Buckner International and Kroger grocery stores to create a Thanksgiving drive-thru in the academy parking lot. Full-sized turkeys, pies and other Thanksgiving sides such as yams, rolls and cranberry sauce, were given out to hundreds of registered Youth Academy families in West Dallas.

“I think that just is a true testament and just shows the type of character we have in our locker room,” Hearn said. “We are guys that want to get back and just want to help out. We want to use the platform that we're given, and like I said, I just think it's a true testament because we had so many guys show up. That's a true testament to who we are as a group.”

Kelly Gavin

The work didn't stop there for Hearn, who also hosted his annual "Week of Giving" Thanksgiving charity event. The North Texas native started the tradition after he was traded from the Pirates to the Rangers as a Minor Leaguer.

This year’s “Week of Giving” began on Nov. 17 at Kennedy-Curry Middle School in South Dallas. There, Hearn gave out $5,200 worth of gift cards to families to use for Thanksgiving dinner.

It culminated on Monday when Hearn and fellow pitchers and served dinner from Hurtado’s BBQ at the Arlington Life Shelter. Dinner included chicken, jalapeño cheddar sausage, garlic green beans, banana pudding and more.

Hearn and the Rangers will also be giving out hats, gloves and socks for the homeless at the shelter to have warm clothes during the winter months.

“I have a lot of fun doing it,” Hearn said. “I give turkeys out to families as well for Thanksgiving and I love doing that. I don't know, I've always found the joy about giving back to people. And even events like this, like the Rangers do, I was all for it. They first told me about it when I came over here [in the trade], I was like, ‘I'll try to be at every single one of them.’"