JJ Watt retires: Houston influences much more than a football field

It was his revolutionary ways and community service that made Houstonians fall in love with him.

HOUSTON. After JJ Watt’s recent retirement announcement, many speculate about his incredible impact on football, but it’s his work in the community that makes him a star player.

During his time in Texas, Watt became a Houston icon. It was his revolutionary ways and community service that made Houstonians fall in love with him.

Harvey help

In September 2017, Houston experienced one of the worst tragedies – Hurricane Harvey. Dozens of lives were lost and thousands of homes were destroyed when it rained in Houston for almost four consecutive days.

At the height of the storm, Watt organized a fundraiser to help those affected, even starting the fundraiser with a $100,000 donation. His goal was to raise $200,000 to help those in need, but ended up raising over $41 million through donations from around the world.

According to Watt’s founding, two years after Harvey donations helped:

  • Clean, repair and restore over 1183 houses.
  • Rehabilitate and rebuild 971 kindergartens serving over 108,731 children.
  • Distribute over 239 million meals to victims
  • Provide mental health services to more than 8,900 people
  • Distribution of prescriptions to over 337,000 low-income and uninsured patients

Help for shooting victims

The shooting at Santa Fe High School was another tragedy that shocked the public. Ten people were killed and 13 others injured after a student opened fire inside the school. Most of the victims were students.

Watt offered to pay for the funeral expenses of all the victims.

It is unknown if Watt actually covered the victims’ funeral expenses, but at least one of the victim’s families accepted his offer.

Amazing Patients

If there’s one thing Watt fans know, it’s that he loves kids!

One person who can attest to this is Christian Beasley. He first met Watt when he was only 12 years old and was battling leukemia.

One day Watt surprised Beasley and spent the whole day at his house. Years later, when Beasley graduated from high school, in true JJ style, he tweeted about the proud moment, calling Beasley his friend.

“I watched every game and texted him after every game,” he said.

TO READ: JJ Watt’s young fan reflects on star’s positive impact since release from Texans

In 2020, during the peak of the COVID pandemic, Watt surprised another patient undergoing emergency neurosurgery at Herman Children’s Memorial Hospital.

The message urged Stu, who had a rare chromosomal disorder in which chromosome 14 occurs three times, to stay strong.

Stu has been known to follow the Texans’ stats, most notably Watt’s, and in a video message, Watt told Stu that he hoped to give him “a lot of stats to keep up” during the 2020 season. Also in the video, Watt praised Stew for his strength.

WATCH: JJ Watt surprises Children’s Memorial Hermann patient with hopeful video

JJ Watt Fans Day

Because of Watt’s huge charitable work in the city of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed September 9 as J. J. Watt Day. He was honored to be a hometown hero in Houston.

In honor of JJ Watt Day, please enjoy FREE shipping and handling on all JJWF merchandise orders placed between 5:00 pm…

Posted by the JJ Watt Foundation on Friday, September 7, 2018.

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