ORCHARD PARK – Many players that dawn the red, white, and blue of the Buffalo Bills call Western New York their home away from home.
Several of those saw their homes suffer destructed by the at the hands of recent storm, Hurricane Harvey.
Defensive end Jerry Hughes, wide receiver Zay Jones, and running back Jonathan Williams are three players on the Bills who call the state of Texas home.
Hughes in particular calls Sugar Land, Texas, his hometown. Sugar Land is just outside of the Houston area, the region most affected by Harvey, where the storm first hit land. The defender took matters into his own hands, donating $25,000 initially and another $5,000 per sack he records this season toward relief efforts.
“Every little bit can help,” Hughes said. “There are people who are waiting to be rescued, kids who are sleeping on countertops, people who can’t swim. The water is up to people’s homes now.”
Hughes said he’s been in contact with his family hourly, requesting updates as often as they can.
“I know with the storms like this it’s hard to get an update on what roads are drivable in these conditions. With sinkholes being the number one emergency. I’m trying to give them updates, with what I’m getting off the internet; just passing it around so that way can find safe ways to evacuate and get to higher and dryer land,” Hughes said.
Financially, players can send all they want. But Williams, a native of Allen, Texas, said the most difficult is not being able to be there in person.
“It’s always tough. Definitely when you have loved ones that are affected as well,” Williams said. “Those are the tougher incidents when you can’t do anything.”
Jones, who calls Dallas home, agreed with Williams in terms of physically not being in Texas at this time.
“Just like you guys, we all have a job to do and we’re away from our families and away from people we love. Even people I don’t know there, they’re still being affected by it, it’s hard. Distant from it right now, but it’s just super tough. We can’t ever forget what life is truly about and the importance of it. People are hurting and have lost loved ones. It’s truly sad,” Jones said.
“It’s very sad, very tragic right now. A lot of people are hurting. We just need to keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” Jones added.
Following practice, some teammates weren’t even aware of the contributions Hughes made. Williams and Jones were among them. All three said at some point on Tuesday they would speak to their teammates during meetings to express the importance of doing whatever they can to help relief efforts.
“We’ve seen this with Katrina and we’ve seen how New Orleans had to bounce back and how everybody came to help them with Katrina. Hopefully we can get that same type of comradery,” Williams said.
For more from Hughes, Williams, and Jones on the recent Texas storm, see the attached video above for interviews with each.
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