Three New York Jets players traveled to Haiti on Monday to help with the relief and recovery efforts following the earthquake that killed a government-estimated 230,000 people and made 1.3 million homeless in January. Safety James Ihedigbo led a group of about 20 to Port-au-Prince, including linebacker Vernon Gholston, wide receiver David Clowney and former Jets cornerback Ahmad Carroll, along with medical professionals and volunteers.
Members of Yele Haiti, Wyclef Jean’s charity, teamed up with Ihedigbo’s Hope Africa foundation and the David Clowney Foundation on the three-day trip. The group brought clothes and food, and will assist in rebuilding homes and constructing temporary housing and medical facilities.
Clowney wrote on Twitter that they had already gotten to work Monday night, and put up tents for some of the homeless.
Article continues below ...
"B4 the tents all the families had were sheets hung over sticks. Happiness!!!!" Clowney tweeted. "It really feels so good to know what we did. One of the volunteers w/ Yele (Wyclef Jean) Foundation Relief is in tears of joy right now."
He has also posted some pictures of the experience through his Twitter account.
Ihedigbo announced his plans to bring a group to Haiti in February, feeling the urge to aid the earthquake victims.
"I said, ‘I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to figure out some way to help,"’ the safety told the team’s Web site. "What better way than using the platform that I’ve been given as an NFL football player to do that?"
The 26-year-old Ihedigbo’s charity work was heavily influenced by his parents, Apollos and Rose, who came to the United States from Nigeria more than 30 years ago. They earned doctorates from the University of Massachusetts and founded the Nigerian Agricultural Technical Community College in their home country.
Apollos died suddenly during a trip to Nigeria during James’ senior year of high school, but Ihedigbo intends to continue the work his father started.
"This doesn’t just affect the people in Haiti," Ihedigbo told newyorkjets.com last month. "It affects everybody: people here of Haitian descent, people who have friends who are Haitian, co-workers, teammates."