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'Heartbroken' about Detroit, ex-Tiger Justin Verlander donating masks, shields, meals

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Justin Verlander still has a soft spot for the city of Detroit, even though he hasn't worn the Olde English D since the summer of 2017.

On Friday, the former Tigers ace, along with wife Kate Upton, announced a series of donations to the city, as it continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We've been reading a lot about this pandemic and are really heartbroken to hear what's been happening in Detroit," Verlander said in a video.

Justin Verlander, left, and his wife Kate Upton

Among the donations, Verlander and Upton will provide the following:

►25,000 masks for the Detroit Police Department, through a partnership with Bella+Canvas. They will be given to each officer, and stock each patrol car for police to wear and distribute throughout the community.

"Hopefully," said Verlander, "that goes a long way in slowing the spread in Detroit."

►Face shields for every Detroit police officer, paramedic and firefighter, through a partnership with Ford.

►Thermometers for Detroit police, through a partnership with B Strong.

►A cash donation for Feed the Frontlines Detroit, which is working with local restaurants to deliver meals to area health care workers and first responders.

This is the latest gesture by Verlander, 37, and Upton, 27, who announced earlier this month they will be donating Verlander's salary for at least the next two months to organizations in need. That amounts to a donation of more than $200,000.

"Stay safe, everyone," said Upton, who was born in west Michigan.

Verlander pitched the first 12-and-a-half seasons of his major-league career with Detroit, and remains one of the most popular Tigers ever, for his multiple no-hitters and some epic postseason performances. He helped lead Detroit to five postseason and two World Series appearances, in 2006 and 2012.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984