• Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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6 Hawaii pro athletes unite in challenge to raise funds for isle disaster areas

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS

    Hawaii’s Kolten Wong, left, Marcus Mariota and Max Holloway.

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Six pro athletes, including Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota, have launched the “Be A Hero for Hawai‘i Challenge” to raise funds for isle communities affected by recent disasters in Hawaii, particularly the Kilauea volcano eruption.

The challenge, launched in partnership with the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, is a friendly competition encouraging teammates, rivals and fans to give to their island home, and to see which team sport is able to raise the most. Football, baseball and mixed martial arts are represented.

Funds raised through the challenge will go to the foundation’s Hawai‘i Island Volcano Recovery Fund to assist with long-term recovery efforts, particularly housing needs for those displaced by the eruption, as well as other relief and recovery efforts.

“Both on and off the field, or octagon, Kamu and the other athletes epitomize what true heroes are,” said Micah Kane, CEO and president of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation in a news release. “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.”

The six professional athletes participating include:

>> Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker from the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl championship football team.

>> Marcus Mariota, quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.

>> Max Holloway, UFC Featherweight Champion.

>> Yancy Medeiros, UFC fighter.

>> Kolten Wong, second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

>> Isiah Kiner-Falefa, infielder for the Texas Rangers.

Grugier-Hill said his sister-in-law lost her home to the Kilauea eruption, so he wanted to help, and thought bringing everyone together could help the cause.

“It is going to take a long time to rebuild and they will need a lot of resources,” he said. “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.”

Wong, who had also launched a GoFundMe campaign when the Kilauea eruptions began, said he wanted to give back to his hometown.

“Being from the Big Island of Hawaii, using this platform and trying to raise money for these people to restart their lives again and the process to get them into new homes was a no brainer,” he said. “Giving back is always number one. We always want to take care of our family, take care of our ohana. Hawaii is definitely part of our ohana.”

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