You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone more popular in Houston right now than JJ Watt, the Texans’ defensive end who took it upon himself to raise $30 million for the victims of Hurricane Harvey after his city was hit by the devastating tropical storm. When Watt took the field on Sunday ahead of his team’s season opener against the Jaguars, Texans sent him a strong message.
As Houston was pelted with more rainfall in 72 hours than the region would normally endure in an entire year, forcing more than one million people from their homes, JJ Watt knew he had to do something. So, he announced his intent to raise a couple hundred thousand dollars for victims of the hurricane, a noble effort, to be sure. However, this would ultimately snowball into something far bigger, resulting in a whopping $30 million raised for those affected by the tropical storm.
J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans defensive end and icon for his city, was greeted with a hero’s welcome as he was introduced before his team’s season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Watt entered the NRG Stadium waving the Texas flag to deafening applause.
Watt has raised $30 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. He announced the fundraising page with a video on Twitter after Houston’s preseason game against the Saints in late August, with a goal of collecting $200,000. As donations kept pouring in, he raised the goal again and again. The number skyrocketed thanks to almost 200,000 donors.
Watt also worked with his foundation to fill 12 semi-trucks with supplies, which were brought to Houston and distributed in part by Watt and his teammates last week. [Source: Fox News]
No sooner had Watt stepped onto the field on Sunday than the stadium erupted in thunderous applause for the hometown hero who majorly stepped up to take care of Texans who lost everything in Hurricane Harvey’s flood waters.
Deafening roar for JJ Watt when he was just introduced. pic.twitter.com/dumTapVxlY
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) September 10, 2017
Watt is no stranger to charitable causes; the Wisconsin native has always used his considerable platform and wealth to give back to the community through his Justin J. Watt Foundation, a 501c(3) organization “looking to reach out to middle schools in Wisconsin and Texas, as well as deserving schools in any other state that have insufficient funding for after-school athletic programs, or that have no after-school athletics whatsoever,” according to its website.
“Our mission is to provide after-school opportunities for middle-school aged children in the community to become involved in athletics, so that they may learn the character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic, and perseverance, while in a safe and supervised environment with their peers,” states the foundation’s website.
“The JJ Watt Foundation has provided funding in excess of $3,300,000 to 6th – 8th grade after school athletic programs and organizations,” the website adds. “We could not have achieved this milestone without the continued support of our amazing fan base and sponsors in the community, and we commit to work hard to fund the next $3,300,000!” The site goes on to explain the importance of the programs for children and communities.
Participation in athletic programs provide to children the opportunity to expand their horizons and learn valuable life lessons that will serve them well beyond their years on the playing field. Providing these opportunities for children in the community will not only give them a safe, supervised, and structured setting in which to spend time after-school, but it will also teach the children how to work together within the context of a team, how to persevere in the face of adversity, and that hard work is the best path to success in any situation. The ultimate goal for this foundation is to provide an opportunity for kids to be kids. We want them to be able to have fun and enjoy playing sports with their peers, but at the same time, we want to help lay a solid foundation of characteristics on which they may build the rest of their life.
We want to encourage these kids to dream, and dream big. We want to show them that anything is possible as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to reach your goals. We want to help give these kids every opportunity for success, and we believe the morals and values they will learn from participating in athletics will carry forth throughout all other aspects of their life. [Source: Justin J. Watt Foundation]
In a sport filled with overpaid and entitled athletes who try to impart their liberal views on the rest of us by refusing to stand for the National Anthem, JJ Watt is a breath of fresh air. You’re not going to find a better guy in the NFL.