Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard plays a game that is watched by millions of people week-in and week-out, and he’s well-known in America because of it.
But in his hometown of Tabarre in Haiti, people know him for being more of a saving grace, bringing electricity and water to natives.
After previously providing the school that he named after his late mother (“Le jardin vert de Josette,” which translates to Josette’s green garden) with electricity via solar panels and a generator, Bernard was back in Haiti again providing his hometown with water. He was joined by Bengals chaplain LaMorris Crawford. Josette Bernard died of thyroid cancer when Bernard was 7 years old.
The RunGio Foundation, with the help of Renewable Hope in Indiana, brought a water purification system to the town, providing the locals with clean water, something they see as a luxury.
“That hit me hard to see how quickly they reacted to seeing clean water,” Bernard said, according to the Bengals’ website. “I had to take a step back real quick to be able to see something like that happen. You can do stuff over here like a toy drive. You can do this, you can do that. But when you’re giving such an essential, thing in life, water, and you see how quickly these people need it and want it, it’s insane. It’s really cool to be able to do that. And to have the people there with me to experience that was pretty cool.”
The two were joined by Crawford’s wife Megan, as well as her brother Tim and father, Stan Petty. Bernard also brought his fiance Cloe, and Nick Vigil’s girlfriend Savannah came along while Vigil rehabbed his ankle in Cincinnati.
Crawford was amazed at what Bernard was doing for his hometown.
“What changes me is when I see a professional athlete like Gio use his platform to help others,” Crawford said. “There are the negative headlines that get the attention and then there is this.”
Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson said the next trip will be to install a playground. The school has grown from 20 to 60 students.