|Pete Alonso presenting the checks to Tunnel to Towers Chairman & CEO Frank Siller (l.) and Wounded Warriors Project CEO Lt. General Mike Linnington (r.). Photo by Jason Schott.
When Mets All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby on July 8, he pledged to donate a portion of his $1 million winnings to charity.
Alonso volunteered to donate five percent of the winning to the Wounded Warriors Project and another five percent to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
On Friday afternoon at Citi Field, Alonso presented the checks to Tunnel to Towers Foundation Chairman and CEO Frank Siller and Wounded Warriors Project CEO Lieutenant General Mike Linnington.
Alonso said of the honor, "It's awesome winning the award, I mean, yeah, it's a million dollars, but I think being a champion is priceless. For me, I just feel fortunate every single day with the opportunity I have - I just feel extremely blessed, and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to donate.
|Pete Alonso speaking about his donations to the worthy causes. Photo by Jason Schott.
"I feel really strongly about people that put their lives on the line every single day, and for me, I think that's kind of overlooked every once in a while, something that we all kind of take for granted.
"The price of freedom isn't free, and you've got guys overseas paying that price every single day, so I mean, that's why we're here right now, and also, we've got people every single day keeping us on the home front safe, people, whether it's firefighters, cops, Port Authority, just any sort of first responders.
"I just have a really strong passion and respect for those people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice every single day. A bad day at work for me is getting booed off the field, going 0-for-4, making errors; but I can't even imagine what a bad day at work for people who put their lives on the line every single day is. I just have the utmost respect for those people.
"I came from a military background; both my grandpas served. The grandpa on my mom's side, he was a Marine during Korea, and the grandpa on my dad's side, he was in the Army during World War II doing intelligence in France and Great Britain, so I just have the utmost respect, again, and I just want to thank all those members, men and women who serve.
"That's why these guys are here today. I just wanted to show my gratitude and appreciation by donating to these awesome organizations that are going to help a ton of people.
"I'm blessed every single day, and I just want to use my platform for good and bring awareness to these causes and, hopefully, other people can be inspired to help out."
Wounded Warriors Project CEO Lieutenant General Mike Linnington spoke next and he said, "What Pete did on the field is pretty amazing, if you watched his performance. It was an amazing feat, and for Pete to take his notoriety to raise awareness of what our nation's men and women have done in uniform - and come home to wounds both visible and invisible - recognizing the organizations that serve them the way we do, is pretty special.
"I couldn't be more grateful, as the CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project, to gratefully and humbly accept this donation - most generous donation. Pete, as you said, this will serve and save lots of lives of our wounded heroes that come home."
Tunnel to Towers Foundation Chairman and CEO Frank Siller said, "I'm in familiar ground because we're in New York. Most people know the story of what my brother did on September 11, 2001 when he ran through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel with 60 pounds of gear on his back, and he gave up his life to save others.
"Why we're here today is to honor that sacrifice - of so many that Pete talked about - of men and women who are willing to die for me, for you, and for everybody else, so we can be in this country, so Pete can hit these home runs, and God put him in a position where he can do some good. He used the words 'I just want to do some good.' Our foundation builds smart homes for our country's most catastrophically injured service members.
"Our foundation will take this money, because of you Pete, and we can help others make sure that when they go out and they protect our country, while they protect our community, and when they leave their family behind, that we are going to take care of these families, so this is the impact that you have made here today, and I can't thank you enough for what you have done because you have brought some tremendous recognition to our foundation."
To learn more about these organizations, visit their websites:
Wounded Warriors Foundation: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
Tunnel to Towers Foundation: https://tunnel2towers.org/