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Hero: NFL Star JJ Watt Will Use Profits From His Reebok Shoe Line To Fund Honor Flight

By  Emily Zanotti
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 20: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans is seen during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 20: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans is seen during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Football star J.J. Watt is already well known for his charity, having raised and given tens of millions to hurricane victims in his adopted home town of Houston, Texas, but he’s now extending his commitment to helping others to the veteran community, pledging to use the proceeds from his new Valor 2 shoe line to fund Honor Flight.

Honor Flight’s mission is to “transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country,” according to their website. Honor Flight is best known for honoring World War II veterans — a mission that grows in urgency every day as the generation that fought in World War II slowly passes away — but they’ve now expanded to help veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Their drive is simply “to show our nation’s veterans the appreciation and honor they deserve,” they say, and they provide the trips for veterans free of charge.

Watt’s Reebok shoe line, the Valor 2, is designed to honor his grandfather, a Korean War vet, according to We Are The Mighty, and Watt designed the shoe in his honor.  “The proceeds that would normally go to Watt for his work on the shoe will instead go to the Honor Flight Network, along with an additional $25,000 kicker from Reebok.”

Watt announced the partnership with Honor Flight in a video posted to social media.

The Valor 2 shoe retails for around $100 and “features the Korean War stripe on the back along with [Watt’s grandfather’s] name tape and unit, right up to the division level.”

This is the second partnership Watt has inked with a veteran’s organization. Sales of the “Valor” shoe — the 2018 edition from Watt’s line — benefitted the Navy SEAL Foundation.

Charity seems to be a mission for Watt, who isn’t playing football at the moment, thanks to a season-ending injury he sustained during the Houston Texans-Oakland Raiders game back in late October. Watt is believed to have a torn pectoral muscle, and announced an abrupt end to his 2018-2019 run on Twitter.

“This game can be beautiful and it can also be brutal,” Watt said. “Absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to finish the season with my guys and give the fans what they deserve. I truly love this game and can’t stand letting you guys down. Thank you for all of the thoughts & well-wishes.”

Instead, Watt has been busy connecting with fans, even publishing his personal phone number on Twitter and encouraging fans to contact him through text message, according to the Houston Chronicle.

In 2017, Watt raised more than $40 million to help residents of Houston rebuild following Hurricane Harvey. Conscious that he was using other people’s money alongside his own, Watt gave an update on the Hurricane Harvey fund back in August, telling Sports Illustrated that the money “helped rebuild more than 1,183 homes in the Houston area. More than 971 childcare centers and after school programs have also been rebuilt and recovered with the money, which have helped more than 108,000 kids, and over 239 million meals have been distributed to victims of the hurricane.”

Watt won the NFL’s coveted Walter Payton “Man of the Year” award for his generosity but lost out on the Muhammad Ali “Sports Humanitarian” award. That trophy was presented to anti-racism demonstrator, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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