Community helps raise $100,000 for family of Hanford West softball star killed in crash

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Community raises money for family of Hanford West softball star killed
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One of the hogs that was auctioned off belonged to Marissa Cardona, a Hanford West rising softball star who died in a car crash earlier this year.

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- A special livestock auction at the Kings Fair started at a bid of $25 a pound.

Within 20 seconds, the crowd bid it to $100 a pound.

That's because all proceeds would benefit the Cardona family.

In March, Hanford West freshman Marissa Cardona was killed in a car crash while headed to a softball tournament with her mom.

Her mom was badly injured, but survived.

Marissa was raising a hog with the Future Farmers of America to auction off at the Kings Fair.

Marissa, one to have a sense of humor, named it Carnitas.

Her teammates stepped up to take care of her hog until auction day.

Saturday, when it was time to show, Gracyn Coleman was chosen to stand in her place.

"The pressure really came about when I was in the pen with carnitas and I was preparing him, bathing him," said Gracyn.

Gracyn says the FFA teacher warned her there'd likely be a lot of people bidding on Marissa's hog and reminded her to stay composed.

"I was like 'Ok, how much do you think they're going bid for?' and she was like 'They're going to probably bid for like $30,000, so don't be too surprised and I was like 'Ok.'" Gracyn said.

But bidding would far out-do $30,000.

"I didn't have a set number in mind, the Michelob Ultras were flowing pretty good, got to admit," said Ray Figueroa, the president of RFC Inc. DBA Figueroa Concrete Partners.

Figueroa was there, bidding on animals he promised to purchase and had already bought two hogs, three goats and a steer.

But he decided to bid on Carnitas, which weighed 240 pounds.

"I just heard the auctioneer was going and going and finally, I knew it got close, I was like, you know what? I just yelled out '300 a pound!'" Figueroa said.

Although Figueroa didn't know the Cardona's personally, he knew their extended family members and his own daughter played softball at Hanford West and for the Dirt Dogs organization, just like Marissa.

His daughter wore number 2 at Hanford West, the same number Marissa took over when his daughter graduated.

That was enough for him and his family to want to help out Marissa's father, Rocky, who is still raising other children and helping his wife recover.

"Hey, thank you for the help sir. Three hundred dollars a pound, that's about $75,000 if I did quick math," the auctioneer said.

"I just don't want any burden on him financially that might be causing him to lose sleep or stress or anything like that," Figueroa said.

Gracyn and Figueroa say they hope the Cardona's can breathe a little easier now because of the sale.

"I really hope that he understand that everybody loves that family and everybody's there if they ever need any help," Gracyn said.