Viewers throughout Coachella Valley will likely see some familiar faces during this year's Super Bowl on FOX 11 Palm Springs.
Amid the football and fanfare, a commercial is set to air locally that features several recognizable people including the valley's own Rancho Mirage High School football player Israel "Izzy" Ramirez.
"It's just unbelievable to do this commercial. It's unbelievable," Ramirez said.
Ramirez is on the road to recovery after a brain injury and five brain surgeries. Using the hashtag #30Strong, thousands of people have followed his determined journey as he battled the health challenges.
Thursday morning, Ramirez was back on a football field — this time at the College of the Desert to shoot the football-themed commercial with other notable personalities including county Supervisor Manuel Perez and former LA Rams player Greg Ball.
Their message is an important one: encouraging participation in this April's nationwide census, a count of the U.S. population that determines how $675 billion in federal funding will be spent.
"This is money for our region, money for local problems such as schools, roads, hospitals, parks, you name it," said Yaoska Machado, a public information specialist with Riverside County. "I will say that this is the first time that I think a local government agency does a Super Bowl ad to promote the census."
"It's amazing to be able to pass on that message to show people that they can help the cities, help the schools around us and just make for a better community," Ramirez said.
The county hopes to target the valley's Hispanic population, which they say is a group particularly hard to count.
"The reality is that a lot of people, regardless of language, regardless of race, ethnicity, they watch the Super Bowl, including Hispanics," Machado said. "You can do it online, over the phone, you can send it by mail. There's no excuse not to participate in the census."
The census questionnaire will not ask about citizenship after the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from adding a question about it. You can look in the mail for an invitation to respond online starting mid-March.
It's only been about a week since Ramirez threw a football for the first time since he was hospitalized. He suffered a brain injury last fall.
The Super Bowl airs on FOX 11 Palm Springs on Sunday, February 2. Pregame coverage starts at 8:00 a.m. Kickoff is expected shortly after 3:30 p.m.
Curious to learn more about Izzy's story? Check out some of our previous reports getting to know Izzy, his road to recovery and how the community has come together to show support.
- 30 Strong’s Izzy Ramirez celebrates Christmas with family who feels blessed to have him home and healing