A Thank You To All

Now that I’ve had time to decompress, I have realized just how many emotions we have been experiencing. 

I have so many people to thank, but truthfully that smoke alarm was the real hero. If the smoke alarm didn’t go off, we could be dealing with a very different circumstance right now. And for that reason I will be looking at fire safety in a completely different way than I used to. I know it shouldn’t take something like this to change, but it has and this is where I am. 

I have a new appreciation for firefighters. One in particular went back into the house the night of the fire to recover a few valuable things for us. I didn’t expect that nor did I understand why he did it, but it saved a few things that we needed right away and also gave us hope that some things could be recovered. He even dug out a few of my journals that night. 

I realize that things are just things. When I saw the smoke and heard the fire alarm all I thought to do was get out and get the dogs out. There was not a single thought in my mind about any “things” that were being left behind. When you think about situations like that, you always make a plan in your head of how you would handle it. “First I’ll get my journals, then my computer and then I’ll just walk right down the stairs to the front door, easy.” It’s not quite that simple. 

I just wanted to stay alive and make sure everyone else was alive. 

As a result of everyone having that same mindset, we all got out safe. 

That night people came to help right away. Thank you Gabby and Genny Go who brought me a pair of sneakers (I was wearing my cleats which I was breaking in when the fire occurred) as well as tooth brushes and tooth paste for us all. 

Once everything was over, and it set in what actually happened, it was time to start again. The Eckerstroms are an incredible family. They have been calm and composed throughout the past week or so and have done so much to make sure we are taken care of. If the people who lost their home and many of their life-long belongings aren’t freaking out, we shouldn’t be freaking out either. So they have kept us in check throughout. 

The Spirit staff, Bill Lynch, the SoccerPlex staff, all came to our aid right away. They helped us get clothes and food and toiletries right away so we could start preseason with the team on day 1. 

But then I had a conversation with a good friend of mine, Anthony DiCicco. He suggested a GoFundMe page for the three of us. I didn’t know much about GoFundMe and didn’t know if it was something we should do. Anthony, being the person he is, wanted to help and did so the best way he knew how, by acting. What he started was the most inspiring things I’ve been apart of. 

We had no idea what to expect in the beginning. We really didn’t think much of it at all. Then people started reaching out to us. 

The soccer community, our friends and families, all of the people in our lives, came to our rescue. I never in a million years expected all of this. I am extremely humbled, grateful and most of all thankful for every single person who has helped us. 

One of the best things I’ve seen during this whole situation actually brought me to tears several times. Players in the NWSL who have contributed to the GoFundMe or who have reached out to ask if we need anything. We all know each other’s salaries. We know we are all in preseason and yet, those players took time out of their lives to make sure we were okay. That was truly touching. 

As most know, we started preseason this week, which is our job, source of income, but more importantly, one of the major sources of joy in my life. I feel like we’ve done a good job to try to put this aside while we’re on the field, and that is only possible in large part to everyone I’m writing to right now. Every single person. When anyone says “it’s not much” or “I wish there was something I could do” all I think to myself is that you have done more than you will ever know. You have helped us so much. 

We will be getting in touch with as many people as possible in the coming weeks. We will be sure no one goes unnoticed for their help. In the meantime, we are working to get back to normal and back to focusing on playing. 

Again, thank you so much, everyone. Thanks for reminding us that people are inherently good and about the power of giving. Thank you for being such good people and for the realization that we can be better people too. It is the most priceless gift of them all. 

Kurt, Pam, Britt, Dana, Emma, Molly, Foster and Tori — thanks for taking care of me. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

The journals have been dried out and they are all legible! These are the most important items I own. So thankful they were saved. 

The journals have been dried out and they are all legible! These are the most important items I own. So thankful they were saved. 

From Tori: 

There are only so many words available that can express how I have felt since 9pm on March 10th. As cliche as it is, words will never be enough to describe my feelings, and most people who know me, know that words have never been my strong suit. Despite that and the fact that this small blurb won’t come near conveying the gratitude I have felt and will continue to feel, I am writing to share my promise that I have countless times said over and over in my head since this situation began. In one way or another, my promise/plan is to pay this forward.

Throughout all of this, the actions of people, whether a text, a call, $5.00, $1,000, a hug, a package, the set-up of a GoFundMe by Anthony (who does not even know me), have all brought about this promise that I will earnestly try to keep. The amount of people who have reached out is absolutely unbelieveable. The only way I know how to repay them is to act myself. There are a lot of people’s actions that if they hadn’t done them, Tiff, the Eckerstroms and I (and the pups) may be in a different place today. Because of them and all of you, I don’t feel alone in any of this, I feel supported and blessed. Thank you for everything and for giving me the opportunity to grow and truly offer a hand to the next person.


Tori Huster