When Hurricane Matthew struck the nation of Haiti last year, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril pledged to build a home there for every sack he landed in 2016.
Avril, whose parents are Haitian, tallied a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2016. That led to him paying for the construction of 12 new homes this offseason. The Pro Bowler’s parents left Haiti and emigrated to the United States in the 1980s.
“Their old home was right next door to the one we built,” Avril said. “They didn’t have cement floors, so they were literally sleeping on the floor. When it rained during hurricane season, the floor would get really muddy. And that’s what they were sleeping on.
“There’s another home next to it. The concept is community. There will be a kitchen in the middle where they provide for each other.”
Not only did Avril fund the construction of 12 news homes, he paid for the construction of three new buildings at a school. The school now has eight new classrooms. Avril also provided an orphanage with clean water during all of last year and plans to do the same this year.
“Some of these kids, we saw them last year. Just something as simple as having clean water, you can tell the difference in their skin and how much healthier they are compared to the year before. So, that was pretty cool to see.”
Indeed, Avril plans on building a new house for every sack he registers in 2017.
“People ask why I want to go back,” he said. “I could have easily been one of those Haitian kids. I was just fortunate enough that my mom was able to make it to the States, and we made something happen. But I could have easily been one of those kids.”
It’s great to see Avril travel out of the country to to help others in need. Yes, he is a great player for the Seahawks, but he’s also a charitable man with a big heart.