Former Ohio State Player Enlists Former Wolverines to Provide Clean Water in Detroit

Former Ohio State Player Enlists Former Wolverines to Provide Clean Water in Detroit

Football

Former Ohio State Player Enlists Former Wolverines to Provide Clean Water in Detroit

DETROIT, Mich. — Ohio State fans can sing that they don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, but one former Buckeye is making sure that the world hears that that mentality only exists on the football field.

Donnie Ray Evege was a special teams stalwart for the Buckeyes who has written books and done the motivational speaking tour once his playing career came to an end in 2011. But he had a dream beyond that, a way to help people.

And on Tuesday, that dream helped a lot of inner city kids up in the city of Detroit.

Evege founded a bottled water company called OH2O, which stands for ‘offering hydration to others.’ But this isn’t your traditional bottled water. It’s 9.5 pH alkaline-ionized water, enhanced with electrolytes. The new operation has only been in service for seven weeks, but when Evege connected with his former teammate, wide receiver Taurian Washington — a Michigan native who played at Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s — and heard that the water crisis in the Great Lakes State went beyond the city of Flint, he knew he had to do something.

And he did it in a week in which the states of Michigan and Ohio are usually at each other’s throats.

But, he put the rivalry aside, enlisted the help of former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner and defensive end Mario Ojemudia, and they donated 150 cases — about 1,800 bottles — to Detroit (MI) Mumford High School.

“The reason why we came up this week – it is a special week – but, with being a young company, Taurian Washington – my Ohio State football teammate from 07-11 – called me,” Evege said. “(He) congratulated me on the success of being in 250 different stores in Ohio. He educated me and let me know that Flint is not the only place in the water crisis. So as soon as he educated me and told me that – hey – his younger sister is here in high school here in Detroit Public Schools, and he said they’re on a bottled water station only, because the water has lead. It’s that poisonous.

“And I said, ‘Listen – ‘offering hydration to others,’ OH2O – we’re on our way! I told Facebook, I told the state of Ohio, I said, ‘For every bottle, every case that you buy, you let me know on social media – me, personally, as a the founder/CEO – I’m gonna match you, 100%. And that’s what I did.”

“Great experience at Mumford High School passing out waters for the kids,” former Michigan DE Mario Ojemudia said. “Ohio State, Michigan coming together in a week like this, it’s second-to-none.

“Nonetheless, we’re going to beat Ohio on Saturday, but today’s about the kids.”

Not only did Evege and his team make sure that everyone in the school got a full, one liter bottle of water, but he, along with Gardner, spoke to the entire school at an assembly, sharing life lessons about how they can overcome any negative scenario that comes their way — the ongoing water crisis included.

WATCH Evege’s and Gardner’s speeches to mumford high school below:

Detroit Over Everything, a local apparel company, was also on hand to give away free gear and swag to the students who are excelling in the classroom.

For Evege, though, being able to give back to the community — and that means beyond Ohio, going up into the state which draws so much consternation from the Buckeyes faithful — is what drives him. That’s why he took his young company up north, and intends to develop a presence outside of the current footprint of Ohio and Kentucky.

And, from what he says, with the cause being so great, the people of Ohio are likewise rallying in support of the state of Michigan.

Even this week.

“Ohio cares!” Evege said.“Because people went out to the stores and showed me pictures and tagged me on Facebook and Instagram. ‘Donnie, this is for Detroit awareness!’ ‘Donnie, this is for Detroit awareness!’ So that’s why we were able to come together as a state – as two states. It is the biggest rivalry in sports. Ohio State – Michigan – it’s two of the great, highest tradition programs, ever! Right? We know that! We don’t like each other on football Saturdays! But, this is America. We’re all American. And if you’re going through a crisis, if I’m going through a crisis, we should come together. Because football is very important, it means so much – but life is more important. And we’re dealing with life and death here. Because it’s just that serious.

“Anything that Ohio can do, anything that OH2O can do, anything I can do – I’m going to do. I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”

So this weekend, if you’re traveling down to Columbus, Ohio to catch The Game, stop at a local Speedway on the trip, pick up some OH2O and let Evege know — because this time around, those in the land of OH-IO do, indeed, give a damn about the whole state of Michigan.

Follow / Contact @WolverinesWire / @isaiahhole

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