BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - "When I was little, maybe 1 or 2, I lived in a rehab with my mom," Hayden Kuchta of BCHS football told 23ABC of his troubled childhood, "Then as I got older my dad was absent due to drugs and my mom relapsed back into drugs."
The discipline and structure of a normal childhood was missing for an adolescent Hayden until his introduction to football. His love of sports continued as his high school career began.
"It was amazing that when he walked onto the football field and played, you never knew," BCHS head coach Jerald Pierucci explained, "athletics was an out for him, he was able to get away from everything that was going on in his life and just pour himself into something that he loved to do."
Hayden's love of football and a unique ability to make friends led him into the lives and home of his teammate Grant Bouma and his family.
"As my son and Hayden got close and he spent more time with us," Dana Bouma, mother of linebacker Grant said, "we got the story in bits and pieces. One time i sat him down and said, tell me you whole story, that's when we cried together, got the whole story out and decided there needed to be some changes."
Changes included a stable home life at the Bouma's and after a year, Hayden tried to transition back with his mom. But things there hadn't changed. That's when Hayden's girlfriend's family stepped in. After much soul searching and consultation with the family priest, the Renz family decided to take him in.
"Not all kids have this story and are fortunate to have them take them in and help them out," Mrs. Renz explained, "we're not the only family, there have been many families befoe us that have helped him. And it was the right thing to do."
"Between the Renz' and Bouma's, they understood the situation," Hayden explained, "I needed stability and that living in a house with drugs wasn't a stable, healthy environment for me be in."
And at senior night on Friday, Hayden will honor two families. Families that took him in and saved his life.
"The Renz'' will be there on one side and we'll be on the other," Dana Bouma said, "one big family, we're in this together."
"We will be supporting him as moms," Mrs. Renz explained, "you're going to make me cry! I love him, he's a great kid."
"It is a testiment to the families who took him in," coach Pierucci said, "on how they were able to understand how important they were to him at that time in his life."