HOUSTON – It’s a game week for the Texans, who were back on the practice field Wednesday afternoon.
While the focus is football, Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt continues to organize his relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.
The dollars just keep rolling in.
A week ago, when Watt launched his YouCaring.Com site, the goal was a mere $200,000. Little did he know how Houstonians, celebrities and many others throughout the United States and the world would respond.
Watt got a big boost to his Houston Flood Relief Fund Wednesday morning -- $5 million -- bringing the total to more than $26 million.
Charles Butt, H-E-B chairman and chief executive officer, announced a personal $5 million contribution to the Justin J. Watt Foundation’s Houston Flood Relief Fund.
The check was presented by Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B's food and drug division, and Winell Herron, H-E-B group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs, on behalf of Butt at NRG Stadium.
“J.J. really stepped up and took action,” McClelland said. “He didn’t wait for someone to come and bail out Houston. I think that’s the story about Houstonians in general.”
“Throughout this disaster, I have been humbled by the state’s unprecedented generosity and heroism,” Butt said. “I want to commend and support the extraordinary relief efforts of J.J. Watt who has taken the lead, not as a world-class NFL player or celebrity, but as an individual who saw the need to help his fellow Texans and immediately took action.”
"The shining light through all of this has been the people, has been the response, has been the resiliency of not only Houston, but people around the world, showing their support, showing their help," Watt said.
Watt thanked Butt and H-E-B, and commended him on his leadership and commitment to the city.
"I can't say enough as to what's happened over the past week and half, since we started with a goal of $200,000 to where we are today. This will put us a couple hundred thousand dollars short of $27 million," Watt said. "It's unbelievable. I can't thank everybody enough."
Watt said he will keep his fundraising efforts open until 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15.
“To Mr. Charles Butt, and to everyone at H-E-B a donation of $5 million is truly incredible,” said Watt. “There are no words to describe when people step to the plate like that, especially someone in our home city.”
He plans to make sure the donations also get out to the surrounding Gulf Coast areas of Rockport, Beaumont, Port Aransas and others.
“I think that’s what makes it hit so close to home,” said Watt. “Going out and seeing the people directly, it makes it very real and makes you want to do right by everybody involved.“
"We are so proud of the amazing work that J.J. has done for our community, including this landmark Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery fundraising effort,” said Jamey Rootes, president of the Houston Texans. "All of this is a testament to the power of teamwork and Houston’s ‘can do’ spirit."
Butt’s philanthropic efforts extend to The Holdsworth Center and the Raising Texas Teachers Scholarship Fund. He is also the founder of the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, an advocacy organization committed to teacher preparation and the development of public school leaders.