Updated June 16, 2022 - 6:47 pm
As soon as Mark Davis answered the phone, he knew something was wrong. The voice on the other end was former Raiders safety Vann McElroy, and Davis immediately detected distress.
“I could tell there was pain in his voice,” the Raiders owner said.
Unbeknownst to Davis, McElroy grew up in Uvalde, Texas, the site of last month’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers.
As the words began pouring out of McElroy, Davis learned McElroy’s grandson attends a school in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District and that the McElroy family was contemplating pulling him from public schools in favor of a private school.
As Davis listened, he could not help but think about the mass shooting five years ago in Las Vegas that took the lives of 60 people. At the time, Davis and the Raiders were in the beginning stages of making the move from Oakland to Southern Nevada.
As McElroy continued to speak, the heartbreak in his voice reflected an all-too-familiar emotion that guts a community after such a senseless act of violence.
“I understood the pain they were going through,” said Davis, reflecting on the Las Vegas mass shooting. “I knew how it could devastate a community.”
“What can I do to help?” Davis asked McElroy.
That question became the catalyst for the $1 million donation Davis made on behalf of the Raiders’ foundation to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District to fund a security program that will help fortify the four schools in the district.
The plan was under discussion even before the recent shooting, but paying for it was an issue. The program called for the installation of impenetrable doors and an unscalable fence to secure the entrance to schools while also installing cameras inside and outside.
At Davis’ request, McElroy found out how much it would cost to make it happen.
“One million dollars,” McElroy told Davis.
“Done deal,” said Davis, pledging to cover a project he hopes will create peace of mind for students and families in the Texas town.
“We want the kids safe and families to feel safe when they drop their kids off at school,” Davis said.
Davis presented the $1 million check during a Zoom meeting that included UCISD superintendent Hal Harrell, director of student services Kenneth Mueller and McElroy.
Davis hopes others will follow the Raiders’ lead.
“This could be a model for other communities,” he said.