Rams punter Johnny Hekker woke up, saw the devastation caused by the Thomas fire in Ventura County, and wanted to help.
Hekker and his wife, Makayla, spent part of Tuesday — the Rams’ day off from practice — at a Target store in Newbury Park buying supplies to deliver to a shelter at the Ventura County fairgrounds.
“We are all in it together,” Hekker said Wednesday at the Rams’ practice facility in Thousand Oaks. “It’s a real situation where we can kind of all rally around one another and try to lift the spirits of these people who have lost everything that they knew.”
Hekker moved to Ventura County when the Rams re-located from St. Louis to Los Angeles before the 2016 season. Neither Hekker’s home, nor those of Rams teammates or staff members, have been affected by the fire.
By Wednesday, the Thomas fire had burned at least 65,500 acres on a path that stretched more than 10 miles from Santa Paula to the Pacific Ocean.
Coach Sean McVay said he was not surprised that Hekker took it upon himself to help the community.
“He’d be the first to not feel like he needs any sort of credit for something like that,” McVay said.
Hekker and his wife spent about 45 minutes at the shelter unloading sweatpants, sweatshirts, diapers and some sports equipment before shaking hands with volunteers and meeting with displaced residents.
“These people support us throughout the season and are big fans of us,” Hekker said. “If we can do anything with our platform to give back to them in this crisis, then that’s what we’re here for.”