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The NFL and USAA have named Atlanta Falcons guard Ben Garland the 2018 Salute to Service Award recipient.
Garland will be recognized at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air the night before Super Bowl LIII. USAA will contribute $25,000 in Garland's honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA's donation with a contribution to Garland's military charity of choice.
"From his time at the Air Force Academy and throughout his NFL playing career, Ben Garland has demonstrated an understanding and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the U.S. military and their families," said Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. "We salute Ben for his tireless effort to support our military, veterans and their families, as well as his own service to our country as a member of the Colorado Air National Guard."
"I am honored to win the award, but honestly, I am just honored to be part of an organization that puts military first from the top down, from Arthur Blank to our head coach," said Garland. "They do so much for our military. I am proud to be with an organization that is the spear in the NFL of showing how to do it right, and how to truly give back and say thank you to the military members that absolutely deserve it."
A current member of the Colorado Air National Guard, Ben finds time to support his fellow active duty service members. He donates game tickets each week to service members, visits the Air Force Academy annually to speak to students, works with Georgia Tech ROTC and mentors local young officers.
The Salute to Service Award presented by USAA is part of the NFL and USAA's year-round commitment to recognize and honor the military community. Visit the Salute to Service site to read about all 32 nominees.
Below is the list of previous Salute to Service Award recipients:
|2017||Andre Roberts||Atlanta Falcons|
|2016||Dan Quinn (Head Coach)||Atlanta Falcons|
|2015||Vincent Jackson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2014||Jared Allen||Chicago Bears|
|2013||John Harbaugh (Head Coach)||Baltimore Ravens|
|2012||Charles Tillman||Chicago Bears|
|2011||K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr. (Late Owner)||Tennessee Titans|