© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You Count on Us, We Count on You: Donate to WUSF to support free, accessible journalism for yourself and the community.

Former Florida College Athletes Use Platform To Help Irma Victims

Former University of Florida Football Player Tim Tebow joins Governor Rick Scott at a Jacksonville Shelter.
Governor Rick Scott's press office
Former University of Florida Football Player Tim Tebow joins Governor Rick Scott at a Jacksonville Shelter.

Several former Florida athletes are using their platform to help Hurricane Irma victims.

Earlier this week, several people cheered a World War II Veteran, who just played the harmonica for Tim Tebow at a special needs shelter. Following Hurricane Irma, the Heisman Trophy Winner and former Gator Football Quarterback traveled the state.

Tebow’s stops included his hometown of Jacksonville—one of the hardest hit areas. It also included a visit to the State Emergency Management Center in Tallahassee, where he took pictures, shook hands, and thanked many volunteers and officials who helped and are continuing to do so.

“You know, all the shelters that I’ve been to, there’ve been a lot of people that have a lot of worry, a lot of doubt, and a little afraid of the unknown: ‘what’s going to happen when I get back to my home? What’s going to happen with my family? How am I going to connect?’ But, the one thing that they had was they had someone beside them, a volunteer, a nurse, someone that cared about them, that was there the entire time, and the entire time they knew they weren’t in this alone” said Tebow.

As part of his visits, he traveled with Governor Rick Scott, who says Tebow was in constant contact with him through the storm.

“Tim has been a friend, and he’s someone as we all know who really cares about people. He has called me up constantly during the storm, and said, ‘what can I do to be helpful?’ He’s helped us get the message out, and he’s also been visiting shelters,” said Scott, at the time.

Tebow, now a minor-league baseball player, thanked the Governor for his handling of Irma.

“Well, I think first and foremost, I just want to thank you for how much you cared about all the people in this state, and how you went above and beyond to take care of them, especially all the people with special needs—since that’s so near and dear to my heart. And, just want to let all the people in our state know how much so many people are praying for you and love you and they are there to help you, and are alongside of you at this difficult time. It’s not like you can make everything better at once, but you can know that people are praying for you and they love you and are here with you walking this journey with you.”

Meanwhile, Tebow isn’t the only athlete expressing his support for Irma victims. Former Florida State Quarterback and current NFL player Jameis Winston did so as well.

“Before we kick off the season, I just want to send out prayers to everyone who’s been affected by these storms over the past few weeks,” said Winston, in the twitter video. “And, I want to continue to pray for these people who are still in the path of these storms. I just want to pray for your health and your safety. We will come together and we will overcome this adversity.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' September 10 th game against the Miami Dolphins in South Florida was postponed, due to Irma. But, later, Winston said, his mind isn’t really on football right now.

“I went through a tough time, watching. I really wasn’t thinking of myself,” said Winston. “I was really thinking about what the people in Florida were going through. You know, what people in Florida were going through, what the people in Houston had went through. Because at the end of the day, everything is bigger than football, or else I would want to be out there on the field. I definitely want to be playing. But, sometimes you want to take that back seat, and let things happen.”

Meanwhile, Winston is encouraging everyone to donate to support Irma recovery relief efforts at jameiswinston3.org. In a tweet, he says he will match the first $50,000 donated for that cause.

For more news updates, follow  Sascha Cordner  on Twitter:  @SaschaCordner .

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.