METAIRIE, La. – For Jonathan Vilma, the news couldn’t come quick enough after bits and pieces of information started streaming into news outlets about the massive 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti Tuesday.
Vilma’s two grandmothers, two aunts and an uncle all live outside of Port-au-Prince, where the earthquake had its greatest impact.
“Fortunately, spoke to my mom and dad and they said all my family members are OK,” Vilma said. “That was good to hear. I heard about it two days ago and everybody was OK. Fortunately for my family’s sake, everything is fine.”
The timing of the earthquake coincides with an NFL playoff game for Vilma and as such, the Saints linebacker hasn’t been able to spend as much time as he’d like helping out.
And for that, he doesn’t feel right. But he is happy with the overwhelming response by people trying to aid in the disaster relief.
“Very excited about that, especially when I’m here and so focused on doing something that feels almost selfish because I can’t be helping and I can’t help my family,” Vilma said. “To hear the outpour of everybody helping out, it’s great.”
Vilma’s parents are both from Haiti, but he said both have lived in the United States for more than 30 years having moved here when they were teenagers.
Vilma will film a Public Service Announcement in conjunction with the NFL on Friday. It will air, he said, throughout the playoffs.
But he’d like to do more and once he gets the chance, he will.
“As soon as I get just a day to really put my all into it, I will,” Vilma said