Surfside survivor returns court for high school volleyball game, and it meant the world

Author: Bobeth Yates / CBSMiami
volleyball player
Credit: Deven Gonzalez celebrating her team’s win. (CBS4)

It’s been over three months since the Surfside building collapse. The survivors, as well as the victims’ families, are trying to move on with their lives little by little as much as they can.

One of those survivors was back on the court for her high school volleyball game – and it meant the world.

“It has changed my life. Some days it’s changed my life horribly. Other days it’s brought my family really close together,” said survivor Deven Gonzalez.

Gonzalez and her mother are among the few rescued from the rubble – both suffering serious injuries. Her mom’s pelvis was crushed, while Gonzalez broke her femur. The scars still visible on her legs.

“The recovery process has been very long but we’re getting there and we look a lot better than we were yesterday,” said Gonzalez. “It’s one day at a time.”

Saturday was one of those better days.  During Miami Senior High’s volleyball game, Gonzalez, her mom and her father Edgar Gonzalez, who did not survive the collapse, were all honored.

“Edgar, the father, was a really big contributor to this program. The kids really loved him and they felt that was the best way to honor her, her mother and everybody else who unfortunately perished,” said Miami Senior High volleyball coach Nick Baumgarten.

Even Miami-Dade Fire Rescue participated in the tribute, greeting players and being thanked for their service.

And while Gonzalez’s injures kept her out the game, she says the night was even sweeter because her team won.

“I feel great. I feel really glad the team really pulled together,” she said.

The Gonzalez family adds that every day since Surfside has been difficult. But events like this, where the community comes in and rallies behind them, make it easier.

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