Officers Working Mass Shooting Surprised with Meals & Handwritten Card from NFL Quarterback


With the exception of terrorist attacks, few crises cause as much public chaos as mass shootings.

In one moment, people are going about their everyday lives. In the next, the facade of safety lies shattered into a million pieces, and bystanders find themselves fleeing for their lives. Even after first responders arrive, it takes more than a little while for order to reassert itself.

Police and paramedics do their best to ensure everyone’s safety and to treat the wounded after a shooting, but sometimes they end up unappreciated or forgotten about.

Well, after the mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, one NFL player decided to make sure that they weren’t forgotten. For those unfamiliar with the situation, Electronic Arts hosted a professional video game tournament on Aug. 26 for the company’s popular sports title, “Madden NFL 19.”

The tournament turned deadly after 24-year-old David Katz lost a game. Katz then retrieved two handguns from his car and started shooting.

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Twelve people were wounded, and three died, including Katz, who took his own life.

First responders investigated the site of the shooting on Aug. 26 and 27. While they were working, they received an unexpected surprise.

According to CBS Sports, the nearby Mambos Cuban Café began offering free meals to everyone on site. Why? Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had decided to pay for them through his charitable foundation.

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The Blake Bortles Foundation made the announcement on its Twitter account. “We invite all first responders to come to 501 E Bay St for a hot meal today,” the foundation wrote.

“Food will be available at 1:30pm & again for a 2nd shift at 5:00pm. Thank you to all for your service to our wonderful city.”

When the Jacksonville Police Union, FOP Lodge 5-30, thanked the nonprofit for the food, the group made clear where the praise should really go.

“It’s the bravery and courage that’s unanimously displayed for our community that we value the most,” they wrote.

Fox News reported that Blake Bortles himself penned a handwritten note to the first responders, saying, “Thank you for everything you do! Your service today & every day is greatly appreciated!”

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Jaguars owner Shad Khan also offered his condolences, saying, “It’s impossible to comprehend today’s news. I’m heartbroken for the families and friends of the victims and can only express my deepest condolences as we try to understand why and how this can happen, not only here, but anywhere.”

Bortles wasn’t the only one reaching out charitably. WJXT reported that Electronic Arts has offered $1 million to the families of the tournament participants who were killed, as well as “all those who were affected.”

As kind as such gestures are, Jacksonville has a long way to go before it’s fully healed. City Councilman Reggie Gaffney hopes local religious organizations will rise to the challenge.

“My solution is we really need to talk about God,” Gaffney said. “I’m asking the faith-based community to step up.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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