In times of crisis and disaster, local professional athletes often do their part to help the people in their city. Cleanups, fundraisers and even fan meet-ups are inspiring and appreciated by the people hurt most by the disaster. Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt went above and beyond in his attempt to heal the city of Houston following Hurricane Harvey.
Watt, soon to enter his seventh season with the Texans, raised over $18 million toward helping the people of Houston. The 28-year-old immediately acted after the hurricane’s damage became evident; with the storm making landfall on Aug. 25, just one week later Watt raised over $15 million.
In addition to the millions in dollars raised, the fundraiser brought in massive amounts of donated supplies. Watt tweeted a picture of an entire warehouse packed with donations on Sunday Sept. 3; he also posted another picture of 10 semi-trucks packed with donated goods purchased with the raised funds the same day.
Though he provided tremendous contributions, Watt is not alone in helping the cause; several organizations and celebrities have helped as well. The Houston Rockets and the Houston Astros donated $4 million each.
Other teams, such as the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, pledged donations. While these teams have made significant contributions, individuals like Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, rapper Drake and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock have all contributed to the cause.
Hurricane Harvey reportedly claimed the lives of at least 60 people and caused damage that could cost well over $100 billion. Flooding caused the most damage, displacing thousands of people from their homes. Issues with E. coli could also become present in the flooded areas of Harris County.
Some experts predict that the total cost of cleanup, shelter, rebuilding houses and the displacement of families may exceed the cost of Hurricane Katrina’s damage in Louisiana.
Athletes always stand in the spotlight of the public. When the cities they play for need them, many should and do use their influence to help as much as they can. When players like Watt lead massive fundraisers, people take notice and do their best to contribute. His motivation was awarded with over 169,000 donations that now amass to over $18 million.
The money he raised will make a difference in the lives of those devastated in the hurricane. Although some do not like it, athletes are natural role models; by simply motivating the public to raise this money, Watt has shown great character.u