Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, made landfall on 25th August 2017. Harvey unleashed an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain over six days, causing catastrophic flooding and widespread devastation. South-Eastern Texas and parts of Louisiana were hit the hardest. Recovery costs soared to upwards of $200 billion.
At the time, the Houston Texans football team was holed up in a Dallas hotel. Unable to travel to their pre-season game in New Orleans, defensive end J.J. Watt couldn’t stand sitting idle as the community around him suffered from the deadly impact of Harvey. To help, Watt set up an online fundraiser with an initial goal of raising $200,000.
Making an emotional plea, J.J. Watt quickly became the face of the recovery efforts. His words caught the hearts and minds of people across the country. Within the first two hours, his original target was smashed.
Three weeks later, the fundraising effort topped a staggering $37 million. Watt’s campaign continues to receive donations, with the total amount raised to date now eclipsing $41.6 million.
The J.J. Watt Foundation have since rebuilt homes and communities, serving millions of meals and providing support for thousands of children and survivors. Watt’s selfless appeal and passion for activism has sparked one of the most powerful recovery efforts the United States has ever seen.