K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr.
Former Tennessee Titans owner, K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr., was named the inaugural winner of the award. Adams, a veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve who served during World War II, was a longstanding advocate of servicemen and women, hosting more than 12,000 troops at Titans games.
Two-time Pro Bowl player Charles Tillman, whose father served 20 years in the Army, provides critically ill children of military families access to computers, DVD/MP3 players, and other electronics at Fort Hood and conducts youth football camps on military bases.
Super Bowl-winning coach John Harbaugh has participated in an NFL-USO coaches’ tour of the Middle East visiting numerous military bases, has instituted Military Appreciation Day at Ravens training camp, and invites Wounded Warriors as his guests to every home game.
Five-time Pro Bowler Jared Allen makes homes accessible for veterans who return from war with debilitating injuries by building, purchasing, or remodeling homes to fit the lifestyle a disable soldier faces. Since the organization’s inception in 2009, $3.5 million has been raised with the goal of donating 10 homes per year.
The proud son of parents with a combined 25 years of service in the Army, the self-proclaimed “military brat” has focused his charitable efforts on finding new and innovative ways to connect with those whose path he’s walked. Jackson launched the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation on Veterans Day in 2012 to support military families by focusing on the educational, emotional and physical health of military children.
Despite not having a military background or family connection, Quinn supports TAPS by having players wear the initials of a fallen soldier on their helmet, with the player having the opportunity to meet the family soldier represented to connect on a more personal level.
Andre Roberts’ passion for the military stems from his childhood, growing up with parents serving in the U.S. Army. Andre has expressed extreme gratitude to the military through visits to VA hospitals, spending a day fishing with veterans at ‘Fishing with the Falcons’ as well as hosting football clinics for military children.
Garland is heavily involved with helping raise awareness for PTSD, creating relationships with a number of military non-profits that he works with year-round. In addition to the time he spends with veterans and military families, Garland fulfills his own military duties as a Captain in the CO ANG.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than taking veterans back to where they left their blood, sweat and tears to preserve the freedoms we enjoy,” Edwards said. “I do this to honor my grandfather and his legacy. Growing up, he took care of me, and now I’m taking care of the men like him who sacrificed so much for our country. There’s a reason our motto is, ‘Taking care of the ones who took care of us.'”
Learn more about the NFL Salute to Service campaign and military appreciation efforts at NFL.com/salute.
NFL Salute to Service Award Presented by USAA
The NFL Salute to Service Award presented by USAA encourages military appreciation by NFL players, alumni, and team personnel who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. The annual award is presented during Super Bowl week and recognized at the NFL Honors awards show the night before the Super Bowl. In addition to the award, a $25,000 contribution is made by USAA in the winner’s honor to the aid societies representing all five military branches. Teams submit nominations in October, which are evaluated by a panel of judges based on the positive effect of the individual’s efforts on the military community, the type of service conducted, the thoroughness of the program and level of commitment. The panel of judges, consisting of representatives from the NFL and USAA, all with military ties, includes:
- Chad Hennings – Air Force Academy graduate, three-time Super Bowl champion
- Jim Mora – Sr. Marine Corps veteran, former NFL head coach
- VADM John Bird (ret) – USAA Vice President, Military Affairs
- Lenny Bandy – Served in the US Marine Corps; current NFL personnel
- Charles Tillman – 2012 Salute to Service Award recipient
- John Harbaugh – 2013 Salute to Service Award recipient
- Jared Allen – 2014 Salute to Service Award recipient
- Vincent Jackson – 2015 Salute to Service Award recipient
- Andre Roberts – 2017 Salute to Service Award recipient
- Ben Garland – 2018 Salute to Service Award recipient