Horns Up For Javi: Help send longtime Rams fan & teacher extraordinaire Javier Romo to Super Bowl LIII (it’s also his birthday!)

Javier Romo at Sunday's send off for the LA Rams at the future home in Inglewood.

GoFundMe: Horns Up For Javi

Mark Gendernalik had an idea, but he needs some help:

Get his friend Javier Romo to Super Bowl LIII.

Sure, everyone wants to go the Super Bowl; it’s a bucket-list item for many. But Romo truly deserves to go.

Romo, a 29-year teaching veteran, was a major part of the negotiation team for the United Teachers of Los Angeles Board of  Directors, which helped end the first strike in 30 years and earn the teachers of LA a ‘historic new contract.’

Romo, a sixth-grade math-science teacher at Mulholland Middle School in Lake Balboa, has volunteered for 19 years in various capacities within the union, ‘working countless hours to improve working conditions for teachers and improve learning conditions for students throughout Los Angeles.’

“His dedication to his students and our community make him a hero to us,” Gendernalik said.

Romo is also a lifelong Los Angeles Rams fans, dating back to the ‘Roman Gabriel days’ from 1962-72. Romo remembers his first game with his father like it was yesterday … as an eight-year old, he witnessed the Rams tie the Atlanta Falcons 10-10 on Nov. 8, 1970.

Romo is a veteran member of ‘World Tour Rams’, a group of loyal fans which prides itself in ‘taking over local & national sports venues one NFL Sunday at a Time!’ and calls Big Wangs in North Hollywood their clubhouse.

And here’s where the help part comes in.

Gendernalik, an eighth-grade engineering teacher at Mulholland Middle, had the idea of creating a GoFundMe page to raise money for Romo and his wife, Angie, to attend the big game next Sunday in Atlanta as a way of honoring Romo’s ‘efforts in representing us at the table and on the line during the strike.’

When originally told of the plans to raise the money, Romo balked, stating working people had better uses for their money than sending him to the Super Bowl.

Thankfully, Romo relented and allowed the page to be created.

There is, however, one very large catch: Romo does not want any teachers to donate, “I’ll be monitoring those donations,” he said.

And now comes the very best part of this story: Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3) is Romo’s 57th birthday.

Can we please help get this man to Atlanta?!?!

“I was truly touched by it (the GoFundMe page). I’ve known Mark a long time. Hearing the kind words … I am very humbled by that,” Romo said on Saturday.

Romo, a father of two daughters, Megan and Vanessa, went to law school for one year before starting a family and becoming a teacher. His wife, Angie, has been a kindergarten teacher for 29 years as well. Romo always enjoyed negotiating, and that notion assisted him greatly during the long process of getting the educators a new contract.

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Romo and Co. were in for the long haul once the negotiation intensity picked up and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti got involved in the process. Finally, after a marathon, 21-hour session at City Hall on Monday, Jan. 21, everything got settled and teachers and students went back to school.

Romo and others did share a very special moment with Mayor Garcetti. Last weekend, during the Super Blood Wolf Moon, Garcetti invited all parties involved to take a negotiating break and then escorted the group to the roof of City Hall to watch the eclipse.

“It’s a start,’ Romo said of the new contract, ‘I think the package is very good.”

Romo was excused (for five hours) from negotiating on Sunday, Jan. 20 … the date of the Rams’ NFC Championship Game victory over the New Orleans Saints.

“I wasn’t missing that one,” he said with a laugh.

Romo (born in Santa Monica, educated at St. Monica High School and Cal State Northridge) has remained a loyal Rams fan through the club’s various moves from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (team’s home from 1946-79) to Anaheim Stadium (1980-94) to St. Louis (1995-2015) and finally back to LA in 2016.

The club’s Super Bowl XXXIV victory in 1999 was ‘bittersweet’ but Romo was still happy since many of the players on that team were on the final squad in Anaheim in 1994.

When the Rams returned to Los Angeles three years ago, that first season (4-12) was difficult for even the most loyal supporter. Now, with whiz kid Sean McVay at the helm, Romo sees ‘shades of  Kurt Warner and 1999 Rams’ with this squad, led by his favorite player, running back Todd Gurley.

“I love seeing him run and catch the ball out of the backfield,” Romo added.

Hopefully, with some help, Romo can see Gurley in action at Mercedes Benz Stadium on the biggest stage in football and celebrate his birthday in style.