Struthers community remembers Walter Reyes - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Struthers community remembers Walter Reyes

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STRUTHERS, Ohio -

Dozens from the Struthers community came together to celebrate the life of Walter Reyes at a candle vigil held at the high school football field Friday night. 

Family, friends and community members shared stories from Reyes's life.

"People close to him will remember him for his heart and his smile, and his respect for people and peoples parents," said long-time friend Simon Arias. "He was that guy that everyone would open their arms to, and welcome. Everybody's parents loved him..everybody loved him because he just had a heart of gold."

He was well known nationally for his athletic talent. 

The former Struthers student went on to set records playing football at Syracuse.

At 3,424 yards, he is second Syracuse football's all-time rushing list.

After finishing at Syracuse, Reyes also spent pre-season with the Titans in 2005, before leaving after an injury.

Even after returning from the NFL, he held on to his love of the game.

He began sharing his passion with kids of all ages as a football coach.

He wanted to inspire the kids he taught. Along with teaching them football, he was "impacting kids and letting them know that you could come from such a small place and be somebody," said family member Michelle Flemming.

Reyes was also a father to four step children who he loved as his own.

The kids were heartbroken as two are graduating high shoo this year, and one graduating college and were expecting their dad to be there for these big steps in their lives.

"They really loved him," tells Flemming, "They felt like they were supported by him, and they were looking forward to him being there for graduation this year".

A GoFundMe page  has been set up to help the family with funeral costs.

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