How do you get 38,000-plus World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the country's memorial to their service? Fly them, of course. That's roughly how many vets and caretakers are on the Honor Flight Network's waiting list. But United Airlines, American Airlines, and most others aren't just giving away free seats for veterans. That's where Honor Flight comes in, but it can't do it alone. Like any other non-profit, it needs to raise money.
Good thing Honor Flight has the NFL's most dominant defender at their side. The Houston Texans' JJ Watt is putting his legendary fundraising skills to work for the 348 World War II veterans who die every day.
On Veterans Day 2019, JJ Watt launched a new shoe line with Reebok, calling it "Valor 2." The shoe is dedicated to the memory of his late grandfather, who fought in Korea, including at Pork Chop Hill. Most importantly, 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 is no stranger to lending his name and time to support great causes. He raised an incredible $41.6 million to help rebuild Houston after it was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Now he's using his clout and his status to make another miraculous save. This time the beneficiary is the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit whose mission is to take war veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to their respective wars giving priority to World War II vets.
JJ III Valor Edition— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 11, 2019
Inspired by Grandpa Watt
All of my proceeds go to the Honor Flight which takes war veterans on a trip to D.C. to visit the monuments and brings them back home to a proper Welcome Home.
Available tonight at midnight.https://t.co/FfXs88iNQQ
Thank you 🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/YAAjinRTod
As he mentions in the above video, the Valor shoe Watt produced with Reebok in 2018 was a massive success, benefitting the Navy SEAL Foundation. The shoe sold out three times and Reebok restocked it three times. This shoe, along with the same camouflage pattern, also features the Korean War stripe on the back along with his name tape and unit, right up to the division level. Watt's younger brother TJ Watt, an outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, wore the shoes during the Steelers' Nov. 10 game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The JJ III, as it's called on Reebok's JJ Watt website, retails for $100 for men's sizes and $75 for boys. If you're in the market for a new pair, pick up the JJ III and help a World War II or Korean War veteran see the monument to the work he or she did overseas.
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