PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Chris Long continues to inspire on and off the field.
The Eagles’ defensive end, who has donated his entire salary to help education, is working with a retired Marine Iraq war veteran from Philadelphia, Elliott Ruiz.
Ruiz, who currently resides in Los Angeles, was wounded in combat during the rescue of the 7 POW’s in April of 2003 and underwent 14 surgeries on his back and leg. The 32-year-old from North Philly was awarded the Purple Heart for his wounds received in combat, as well as the Presidential Unit Citation for the rescue of the POW’s.
Now, Ruiz is working with Long and his Waterboys initiative, which provides clean and accessible drinking water to rural communities in East Africa. The foundation’s goal is to install 32 wells representing each of the 32 NFL teams. You can donate here.
“Working with Chris, and Waterboys is amazing,” Ruiz told CBSPhilly.com. “You see Chris on the field, and you see this guy giving the Eagles 100 percent on every down. Then you meet him off the field and he does the same, he gives you 100 percent of his focus. The nicest guy, the fact that he is donating his entire salary this season says a lot about him. Doesn’t matter what he’s doing, he’s giving you 100 percent.”
Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret and Seattle Seahawk, co-founded Conquering Kili — climbing Mount Kilimanjaro — with Long. The goal is to empower former NFL players and military veterans to continue their commitment to service and bettering communities.
This year, Ruiz will join the climb Africa’s highest peak and help raise money for the next water well.
Learn more here.