'I knew I had to do something': Professional golfer in The Woodlands raising money for volcano victims in home country of Guatemala
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Professional golfer Jose Toledo, a resident of The Woodlands, is about to embark on a nine-week tour of several golf tournaments across the United States.
But before he leaves, the native Guatemalan has been busy talking with friends and sports colleagues around the world in an effort to raise funds for victims of the June 3 volcano eruption in Guatemala.
"Golfers from all over the world were sending me messages about what happened, and so were employees and workers in Guatemala, asking for help," Toledo said. "I knew right away I had to do something."
"We are joining forces with a foundation that will start rebuilding houses soon," Toledo said. "It will be time to start rebuilding after the lava cools down."
Fuego Volcano has long been an active volcano, Toledo said, but this was a catastrophic eruption, the worst in about four decades.
Toledo said more than 12,000 people lost their homes as villages were wiped away. More than 100 people have died, and another 200 are still missing. More than 4,000 people remain in shelters.
"My parents live an hour and a half away from the volcano," Toledo said. "My house was full of ashes, even an hour and half away. It's the biggest natural disaster my country has ever had."
Growing up, Toledo spent his fair share of time on the La Reunion Golf Resort, just 10 kilometers from the Fuego Volcano.
"They had 300 employees who lost their homes," Toledo said.
Before and After: La Reunion Golf Course in Guatamela, just 10 km from Fuego Volcano.
Toledo lives in Sterling Ridge. Before going pro, Toledo played for the University of New Orleans. He's also a three-time winner of the Guatemala Open, and won Guatemala's National Championships in all divisions. All in all, Toledo has competed in 23 countries.