PEWAUKEE -- The pride of Pewaukee takes home a prestigious award. J.J. Watt was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year after raising more than $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief.
On Saturday night in Pewaukee, all eyes were on the NFL award ceremony as a field of three finalists for the award were narrowed down to one.
“That is the best thing that could have happened,” said Pewaukee High School Athletic Director John Maltsch. “He gives so much to everybody and he doesn’t ask for anything in return.”
Being a family friend of the Watts, Maltsch has followed the star’s career on and off the field since Watt was a kid. Despite a number of prestigious awards and accolades, Maltsch said he’s never been more proud of Watt than for what he did for those affected by the devastating hurricane.
“The amount of product that was brought into the building,” Maltsch said.
Maltsch assisted in Watt’s efforts by loading truck after truck with supplies at Pewaukee High School for Watt’s foundation.
“At one time we thought it was gone and then it was more than it was before,” he recalled. “We ran out of boxes at one point.”
Watt posted a short video on social media to announce his fundraising campaign with the initial goal of $200,000. 19 days later, that amount turned into $37 million.
“It’s incredible the following he has and the pull that has that so many people not only in Wisconsin but around the nation wanted to be a part of that,” said Maltsch.
Watt’s efforts transcended sports by once again using his foundation to impact thousands of lives. Maltsch believes that will be Watt’s lasting legacy when his time on the field eventually comes to an end.
“It’s the best thing in the world that could happen for him because he deserves it,” said Maltsch.