HBO highlights Raiders Darren Waller’s visit into flood control tunnels
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Many people are quite familiar with Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller’s on-field accomplishments. They may not know about all his off-field activities, including venturing into flood control tunnels under the city where many homeless people live.
“I was nervous my first time going down there for sure. And I didn’t know necessarily what to expect. And it was just like ok, this is real,” Waller told HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
A recent segment showed Waller in the tunnels talking with homeless people who live there. The show discusses Waller’s own battle with addiction and how he is working to help others get clean.
“He’s been a Godsend,” said Rob Banghart, Outreach Director for Shine A Light.
Shine A Light members and volunteers visit the tunnels each Saturday to offer supplies to homeless people while listening to their concerns. And if people are ready, Shine A Light will escort people out of the tunnels and provide immediate detox and housing later, to help them stay out of the tunnels and homelessness. The non-profit uses some community resources but pays for much of the costs to treat and house people from community donations. It also offers people case management for two years.
Banghart says Waller has visited the tunnels with the group several times in the last couple of years.
“He’s salt of the earth. He’s not down there going, hey, I’m a Raiders player. He’s down there like, hey, how are you doing? I’m Darren, nice to meet you. And talking to them and spending time with them. He’s not rushing in and rushing out,” said Banghart.
Shine A Light also helps Waller as he tries to make sure youth lead a sober life.
“All of our sober livings we have Darren Waller kids at, they’re all doing really well. And he’s very supportive. And he shows up and he’s making sure they have everything they need,” said Banghart.
He added, “It’s very in line with what we do. That aftercare, building relationships. Not just writing a check and walking away.”
Shine a light is always in need of supplies for the homeless. Anyone interested in donating water, socks, and now as it gets colder, beanies and gloves, can contact the group about donating. People are asked to call 725-222-4707 or may drop off donations at Shine A Light, located at 2330 Highland Drive in Las Vegas.
The Darren Waller segment on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is streaming on HBO Max.
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