Paul Walker, whose sudden death in a car accident shocked the entertainment world Saturday, was more than just an actor. The 40-year-old California native was a devoted humanitarian and philanthropist, having founded his Reach Out Worldwide organization in 2010 following the devastating earthquakes in Haiti.
In fact, Walker’s family asked in a statement that in lieu of flowers fans and mourners make donations to Reach Out Worldwide.
Walker was on hiatus from filming “Fast & Furious 7″ at the time he died and used the day off to host a benefit for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Walker is quoted on the ROWW website as saying, “When you put good will out there it’s amazing what can be accomplished,” so we’ve listed five examples of goodwill Walker put out into the world.
Chilean Earthquake Relief
After the 2010 Chilean earthquakes that caused an estimated $15 billion to 30 billion in damage, Walker was inspired to travel to the area to help.
“You know, I have a lot of friends that surf and travel down here in Chile,” ABC News translated from an interview Walker gave to Chilean TV. “They told me and said, ‘Man, it’s going to be bad.’ The thing’s that incredible to me, is the morale [down here], the spirit. It’s strong!”
Friend Of Sharks
A former marine biology student, Walker partnered with the National Geographic Channel on a research expedition to study Great White Sharks in 2009.
Soon after founding ROWW, Walker and his team took off for Haiti in 2010.
“I’d made a few runs into Port-au-Prince and was negotiating with the army to give me baby formula, tents, extension cords … I was hustling for everything,” Walker said said of his time helping there. “Because of my travels with work and pleasure, a lot of the times disasters would strike in areas that I’d been. You think of the faces — they might not be people you’re in contact with but you can’t help but wonder how that family was you had dinner with.”
ROWW deployed teams to Oklahoma in spring of 2013 after tornados ravished the landscape and left many without homes. This was the same week as “Fast & Furious 6,” in which Walker played a starring role, hit theaters. Walker reached out to his Facebook fans, offering a donation to relief efforts for every person who posted a picture of their “Fast 6″ ticket.
Rallying For Dalton
In March of this year, Walker posted a series of tweets to help raise awareness of a terminally ill young man named Dalton Andrews. It had been on Dalton’s “bucket list” to reach 1,000-plus likes, and Walker’s encouragement of his fans tipped the scales.
Bucket list for this kid is to achieve 1000 likes b4 he leaves this world. Lets make it a reality PLEASE. THANK YOU! https://t.co/Ar3xQW6ZoF
— Paul Walker (@RealPaulWalker) March 15, 2013
Andrews has since passed, but on Sunday, his family posted a picture and message remembering the actor as “an amazing, wonderful man.”
JD Dorfman, the operations manager of Reach Out Worldwide, praised Walker as someone who led by example.
“Some people play a hero, Paul was a hero,” Dorfman said. “Paul was an honorable, hardworking, dedicated, respectful man with a humble spirit who shared his blessings with those who needed it most. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to work with, learn and look up to someone who walked the walk.”