Sometimes a simple act of kindness can go a long way.
Saturday, the sister of former Colorado quarterback Sal Aunese, Arieta Aunese-Leulua’i, was moved to tears after she opened an envelope titled “From a Fan,” left for her at a Los Angeles hotel. Inside was a $100 gift card and a note from an anonymous CU alum that read:
“Compliments of a CU grad and fan who saw your license plate in the parking lot. He followed Sal and that great 1989/90 season all of the way to the Orange Bowl. He said sorry for your loss. Sal left behind a fabulous legacy.”
Erik Aunese, the nephew of Sal and current recruiting assistant for Colorado, shared the news of this CU alum’s kind act via twitter:
Please Retweet for my Family. Hearing stories like this today from my Mom is so humbling. Blessed to be working at CU pic.twitter.com/BP2eXZcj3C— Erik Aunese (@Aunese2822) June 12, 2017
Erik, his mom and the entire Aunese family were deeply moved to know Sal’s legacy still affects people’s lives:
“To whoever you are, I just wanted to personally say thank you, as well as God bless you and your family. My Mom balled and was so moved. It meant so much to her to see how my uncle Sal still tremendously affects people’s lives even from heaven now. My Mom, her siblings, and our whole Aunese family thank you with the outmost love, respect, and appreciation. Once a Buff, always a Buff. CU Forever!”
Sal Aunese was the starting quarterback for CU before passing away from a rare form of stomach cancer in September 1989 at the age of 21. Wearing custom jerseys with the name “Sal” sewn into their sleeves, the Colorado Football team dedicated the 1989 season to Aunese. They finished 11-1 that year, with their only blemish coming to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. The following year, the Buffs defeated Notre Dame in an Orange Bowl rematch to claim their first and only National Championship.
On March 3, 2017, the documentary feature film “Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story,” made its U.S. Premiere at the Boulder International Film Festival.