After Hurricane Matthew savaged the country of Haiti last October, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril pledged to build a home in the country for every sack he managed to total last season.
Avril’s parents are Haitian and left the country in the 1980s to come to the United States. His family still feels a significant tie to the island nation and Avril vowed to help the best way he could.
Following a career-high 11.5 sacks last year with Seattle, Avril followed through with funding the construction of 12 new homes this offseason. In a story with Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, Avril said he met with several of the families that now occupy the new homes during his trips to the country.
“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.”
Avril also partnered with fellow NFL players Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, Gosder Cherlius, Stephen Tulloch and Leger Douzable for one of his trips to Haiti. Avril has also funded the construction of three new buildings at a school with eight new classrooms and supplied an orphanage with clean water for all of last year with the intention to continue this year.
Avril is also intending on making the same pledge of a house for every sack he has for next season as well.
“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.”