HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus is launching the "Hitters for Heroes" campaign in which he will donate $1,000 for each home run he hits this season to Team Rubicon, which is a nonprofit disaster response organization that repurposes the skills of military veterans to deploy emergency response teams.
Team Rubicon is currently coordinating with local agencies to respond to the recent Houston floods, as well as the earthquake in Ecuador. Rasmus, who has five homers this season after hitting a pair in Thursday's loss to the Rangers, has always been a passionate supporter of the military and was looking for a way to give back to veterans.
"They want to have something to do, because they've got a lot of fight left in them and they want to help and serve," Rasmus said. "They get together and go to these different catastrophes, if you would -- natural disasters, like the flood in Houston. They've been to a bunch of other things around the world, so we got to talking to them and it worked out to where we could do something to help them."
Since its founding following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Team Rubicon's nearly 35,000 volunteers have responded to more than 120 disasters, including the tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the earthquake in Nepal. In 2015, the organization responded following the May floods in Wimberley, Texas, the Bastrop County fire in October and the December tornadoes in the Dallas area.
"As Team Rubicon gears up to respond following the unprecedented floods in the Houston area, Colby's generous support will help us deliver critical response services for families in Texas and those affected by disasters throughout the U.S. and around the world," said Jake Wood, cofounder and CEO of Team Rubicon.
I asked Rasmus why he likes to help the military: "I guess I'm just a good, old American."
Rasmus was asked why he's such a staunch supporter of the military.
"I guess I'm just a good old American," he said. "I'm thankful for being able to come into this locker room and being able to do the things we're able to do every day, living in a free county. And those guys have put so much on the line -- their family, their time with their families, maybe a limb. Or, for a lot of them, their lives.
"I just feel blessed to be able to be in a country where we've had so many people fight to do those things for us, and I feel in the position I'm in hopefully to try to shed some light on the good things they do and help their cause."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.