Family of fallen UCF student hosts fundraiser
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 09:10
“He lived with his heart and touched many,” are the words found on the headstone of Andre Reyna, a fallen UCF student.
On Oct. 22, 2009, Reyna was killed in a car accident during his senior year. His SUV inexplicably crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a box truck head on. He was studying political science and had plans to attend the Peace Corps post graduation.
His life was cut short at the age of 21, but his family and friends are committed to continuing his legacy.
“Andre always had a smile on his face. He was very fun loving and very determined, especially for the causes he held close to his heart. You couldn’t meet Andre and not be impacted. He was always helping somebody, and his legacy will always live on through his friends and family,” said Monica Wood, a friend of Reyna.
On Saturday, Reyna’s loved ones held the third annual Andre Reyna Make A Difference carwash. The carwash was started by his parents, Vidal and Odalys Reyna, and sister Vanessa Reyna, on the first anniversary of his passing.
During his lifetime, Reyna served many, but he was most passionate about helping those in need of food. In an effort to continue his legacy, all the proceeds from the carwash will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.
“His passion was not only helping anybody in need, but he really had a calling for those who go hungry. He would often say, ‘I don’t understand how anyone could go to bed hungry when there’s so much to give in this world,’” Odalys Reyna, Andre’s mother, said.
Last year his family and friends raised more than $4,000 to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank during their annual car wash.
“My family hopes the car wash will continue the legacy he started and help remind people how easy it can be to help others without having to go too much out of their way,” Vanessa Reyna said.
While Reyna was living he was an avid humanitarian. During his lifetime he served more than 15 nonprofit organizations in Orlando. Some of those organizations include Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Coalition for the Homeless and Give Kids the World.
He was also an active member of Volunteer UCF and participated in many volunteer projects through the organization.
Reyna’s family and friends remember him as being the person to always put the needs of others before his own.
“He was selfless, absolutely selfless. I knew I had a special son, but I really got to grasp how special he was after his passing by the outpouring of people I didn’t even know telling me how he gave of himself,” Odalys Reyna said.