OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura is throwing his support behind Japan, which has been devastated by a massive earthquake, tsunami that have caused widespread destruction and the dangerous spread of radiation.
Nakamura conducted the following e-mail interview with Ravens24x7.com.
24×7: What’s your reaction to what’s happening in Japan?
Nakamura: "Emotionally I was in utter shock of the images. It is unreal what Mother Nature is capable of. The devastation is remarkable yet the people of Japan are staying calm disciplined and true to their humble unwavering culture under horrible conditions. I am truly proud to call myself a Japanese American."
24×7: What can people do to help those affected by this tragedy?
Nakamura: "Right now they can contact their local Red Cross and donate water, clothes, food, basically anything they feel could help the cause. I am also putting together an autograph fundraiser Red Cross and all the Ripken organization that will include many of our players including some of our pro bowlers. It will be held at Cal Ripken stadium. We are currently working out the date but targeting the weekend of April 2nd."
24×7: What’s going on as far as any family members and friends who are still in Japan? How are they coping with this extremely difficult situation?
Nakamura: "My half brother is safe and my friends are also safe. They are currently a little shaken by the events that have occurred and that are still happening."
24×7: Where were you when you first heard about the tsunami and earthquake and what were you doing at the time?
Nakamura: "I had actually heard the news when I had landed in Vegas (Nakamura attended teammate Tom Zbikowski’s technical knockout victory). I had an early morning flight and saw the television when I landed. Shocking images to see when you get off a plane. First thought that came to mind was how do people survive that? And now that the Fukushima Diaichi power plant’s reactors have failed, who knows where it could lead?"
24×7: How can those around the NFL help and what has the response been like from your friends around the league? Are people pledging to get involved?
Nakamura: "Easiest way for them to get involved is contact the local Red Cross and figure out in what ways they can help. Bringing attention to the matter alone would help people understand the importance of a donation no matter how small it may be. I’ve already gained a lot of support and I am very grateful for it."
24×7: What are your goals and hopes for the people of Japan?
Nakamura: "My ultimate goal for the people of Japan is for them to be strong during these horrific times. There is always hope and I want the people of Japan to know that the Ravens players, Ripken organization, The Red Cross, and many others are doing what we can to help."