Justin Ruggiano grew up in the Austin area and attended Texas A&M. Now he has a home in Heath, not far from Rowlett, where an EF-3 tornado ripped through the day after Christmas.
The newly signed Rangers outfielder watched one of the tornadoes and saw it with his own two eyes from his house.
“We watched it go from Sunnyvale, through Garland, Rowlett and the northwest Rockwall area,” said Ruggiano, who has lived in the Rockwall area since 2009, to the Star-Telegram. “Very scary scene. You just never expect one in December. I watched the whole thing, and I watched the destruction it took with it and now the death toll is 12, unfortunately.”
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Since then, Ruggiano has been assisting in the recovery effort as a volunteer through his church in Rockwall. It's not a new place to live for Ruggiano, but it's a new way to endear himself to his new team's fans by doing some seriously good work in the community in a time of need.
“We have friends and church members who live and come to Rockwall out of Rowlett,” Ruggiano said. “I drive by it every day. It definitely touched me.
“You’re always wondering where you can give back to the community, and I can’t think of a better time than now to get involved in my own community.”