Above the Call, Beyond the Badge, Community Involvement

SATF Lieutenant, football team help during storms

A real estate sign on a flooded street . The sign is mostly underwater.
Signs of flooding but the Woodlake Football team, led by a CDCR employee, were there to help.

Community rallies to help recover

A Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF) Correctional Lieutenant and the Woodlake Tigers Football Team are doing all they can to help their community.

Late last year, SATF featured Correctional Lieutenant Manuel “Manny” Martinez for becoming the head coach of the Woodlake Tigers High School Football team. This year, much of California has dealt with record-breaking rainstorms. These historic storms have devastated much of California and turned entire neighborhoods into lakes. Woodlake is one of those cities.

(Read the original story on Martinez being named head coach.)

Martinez didn’t sit around. The storm triggered his years of leading and emergency response experience. He spoke with the team and soon as there was a break in the storms. They jumped into action. If residents needed help filling sandbags to protect the water from damaging their property, Lt. Martinez and players from the team assisted. If residents needed help removing all of their furniture from their house that was damaged due to the flood, Martinez and players assisted.

Some of the players and their families lost everything.  This did not stop them from helping others within the community who were also being affected by this tragedy.

 “This has been a life-changing event for most of the people within the Woodlake community,” Lt. Martinez said. “We are a small community and we have all come together during this time of need to help everyone out.”

SATF Lt: ‘It is bigger than football’

Martinez also thanked retired CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz, who also happens to be his brother-in-law and a longtime Woodlake resident. Diaz and his wife, Maria, headed the relief. They reached out to the city of Woodlake, Woodlake Christian Center, Tulare/Kings City Serve, Woodlake Resource Center, Convoy of Hope, Woodlake Tigers Football, and the people of Woodlake. All helped distribute the items.

The Convoy of Hope supplied many needed items, including water and food items.  The faith-based organization assists with disaster responses.  

(Learn more about Convoy of Hope.)

“The Woodlake Community has had a lot of help,” Martinez said. “It is very sad to see some families lose everything they had, but we will get through it, as we always do. These young men did not miss a beat and were willing to assist with any and everything that needed to be done. I have always said, it is bigger than football. They have made me so proud.”

The Woodlake Tigers assisting in the effort included Joseph Aviles, Saul Rodriguez, Vincent Duran, Andrew Villegas, Jaime Navarro, Matthew Ruiz, Isaiah Taylor, Dyar Salazar, Sebastian Mendoza, David Flores, Christian Rosales, Fernando Hernandez,  Cayden Wallace, Dante Escamilla, Manalo Valero, Felipe Arambula, Giovani Rodriguez, Andrew Palafox, Steven Torres, Jason Navarrete, Alonso Pena, Guillermo Sanchez, and Xavior Contreras.

See more community involvement stories.

Follow us on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.