JJ Watt quietly makes incredible gesture to family of firefighter killed in explosion


Over the past two seasons, J.J. Watt has only been healthy enough to play in eight games.

But the three-time Defensive Player of the Year continues to have an even more important impact off the football field.

For his charitable work in the wake of Hurricane Harvey — for which he raised $37 million — and other acts of kindness in 2017, Watt was named Sports Illustrated’s Co-Sportsman of The Year (with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve) and won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Now the Texans defensive end has done it again.

Cory Barr was a captain with the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Fire Department.

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Barr died Tuesday doing his job: helping people evacuate during a gas leak.

The leak led to an explosion, wiping out several businesses, including fire captain’s own tavern, Barr House.

Friends of the Barr family set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses, and it soon received more than double its goal of $75,000 — $156,635 as of Friday morning.

Take a look and you’ll see a $10,000 donation by Justin Watt.

Justin is J.J.’s first name.

J.J. doesn’t doesn’t do these gestures for publicity; it was only discovered when WMTW-TV in Madison read through the list of donors.

It’s just the latest altruistic endeavor by Watt in an ever-growing list.

Earlier this year, he offered to pay for the funerals of victims in the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting.

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What makes Watt’s giving so incredible is that it’s not limited to his home state (Wisconsin) or where he plays (Texas). When he sees an opportunity to make a difference, he takes action, as was the case when he flew family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook, Connecticut, school massacre to the team facility so they could have a day away from their heartbreak.

In his spare time, he’s embraced the world champion Astros and what they’ve meant to the Houston area.

From a football standpoint, Watt has endured two back surgeries, a broken leg and a finger that broke through the skin.

As he approaches 30 years old, it’s fair to question whether he’ll ever reach the level of domination he once had.

But one thing is clear: Whether you’re a Texans fan or not, this is a guy that we should all root for.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
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