HONOLULU — Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker from the reigning Super Bowl championship football team the Philadelphia Eagles and an Eastern Illinois University grad, has joined together with professional athletes from Hawaii who are with the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to raise monies to support local island communities that have been affected by the recent disasters, especially those impacted by the devastation caused by the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii Island.
Six professional athletes, including Grugier-Hill, are launching the Be A Hero for Hawaii Challenge with the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF). Founding athletes include: Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway, UFC fighter Yancy Medeiros, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, and Texas Rangers infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
The Be A Hero for Hawaii Challenge is a friendly competition to encourage their teammates, rivals, and fans to give to their island home and see which team sport is able to raise the most in donations. Funds raised through the Challenge will be directed to the Hawaii Island Volcano Recovery Fund at HCF to assist with long-term recovery efforts with a focus on supporting housing needs for residents who have been impacted by the Kilauea volcanic eruption, as well as relief and recovery efforts in other Hawaii communities should another disaster occur.
“It has been devastating to see all of the destruction caused by the volcano on the Big Island – my sister-in-law and her family are one of hundreds who have lost their homes. And these families won’t be able to return to their community,” said Grugier-Hill. “It is going to take a long time to rebuild and they will need a lot of resources. I had to do something to help and was looking for a way to bring people together around it. So I called other pro athlete friends who were from Hawaii to join in. These guys didn’t hesitate and were immediately on board. That’s just how Hawaii rolls. And being the competitors we are, we thought it would be great to see which one of our sports could raise the most money.”
“Both on and off the field, or octagon, Kamu and the other athletes epitomize what true heroes are. Through their hard work, commitment and dedication they have all found success in their chosen careers but when called upon, they give back to their community and help others – they are setting a great example to the young local kids in our community who look up to them,” said Micah Kane, CEO and president of the Hawaii Community Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for all of the donations to the Hawaii Island Volcano Recovery Fund and their openness to support other Hawaii communities when a disaster hits. Our responsibility is to make sure that we work with county government, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to understand where the needs are the greatest and to deploy those donations in the most effective way so that our communities can rebuild and heal.”