Community raises money for University Park custodian's home

A University Park custodian is feeling the love in a big way from the parents and students at the elementary school where he works.

After more than two decades in the home where he and his wife raised their own three kids, they learned the school they love would be torn down along with their house to make way for a new school.

“I was really grateful that they took care of me for 25 years and I was like, OK I guess it's time for me to go,” Jesus Gonzales said.

Gonzales is a beloved fixture in the halls of University Park Elementary and is the go-to guy for things that need to be cleaned, fixed. Gonzales’ wife Delia operates a daycare center for the teachers’ children out of their district-owned home on the elementary school campus.

Parent Marcy Simmons - Gonzales' neighbor - worried what would happen to the family when it was decided their home would get knocked down and started a GoFundMe page.

“All of our neighbors we were like can we buy him a home here in the street, is there anything we can do.,” said Simmons. “He does everything from changing a light bulb to setting up different events that we have here. We have the up all night, he's literally here up all night setting up and taking down.”

On Thursday, Gonzales learned just how much the community cares – over eight months, the account swelled to $53,000.

“I’ve never see this money in my entire life,” Jesus Gonzales said.

Delia Gonzales said the gift showed how much the school community cared about them.

“They love us and they've always been there for us,” Delia Gonzales said.

He says the money will go toward a down payment on another home when the time comes. In the meantime, the district found alternative housing for Gonzales.

“You know from your heart these people care about you,” Jesus Gonzales said.