College football • Cowboy players lend a hand to church orphanage.
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Laramie, Wyo. • Finals end this week for Dominic Rufran, and then he has a few weeks off before he reports back to Laramie for offseason workouts for the University of Wyoming football team.
But before some rest and relaxation, Rufran has more important things to do.
He is one of nine current or former UW football players, along with assistant head coach Pete Kaligis, who will be part of the second "Wyoming in Haiti" trip. The group leaves Saturday and returns the following weekend.
The group will travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to help the local church of Lyonel Narcisse, the father of former UW linebacker Ruben Narcisse, who died in an automobile accident in September 2010.
While there, the group will provide help and fun for the children in an orphanage.
In 2010, an earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.6 million homeless.
Rufran is the only player making a return trip to Haiti.
"From the start, I wanted to go after last year's experience. It was really life-changing," he tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. "To see the poverty the people are in your heart goes out to the kids. There were a couple of kids you actually kept in contact with through Facebook and stuff. They love you to death, and your learn to love them too."
Last year, the group, which was comprised of 26 UW coaches and student-athletes, spent time doing some construction work around the orphanage and teaching kids the game of American football.
For Rufran, the best time spent there is with the kids, not matter what they are doing.
"Most of them have never been held before, so when you get there, they just want to hold your hand and be held," he said. "You almost want to start crying, it is so emotional."
The Wyoming Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has organized the trip the last two years. This year's group will bring shirts and a variety of sporting equipment to donate to the kids.
"We have an opportunity to build on the relationships that were forged in 2012," said Aaron Frude, a former UW football player and the FCA representative for southeast Wyoming and UW.
The cost of the trip is approximately $20,000, and most of the money was generated through fundraising.