Atlanta Falcons offensive guard Ben Garland and Detroit Lions Legend Eric Hipple are finalists for the eighth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. Garland and Hipple were selected for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community.
The Salute to Service Award recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on CBS the night before Super Bowl LIII. USAA, the official NFL Salute to Service partner, will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient's honor to organizations representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA's donation, contributing $25,000 to the award recipient's military charity of choice.
"Each year since we created Salute to Service with the NFL in 2011, we've recognized inspiring leaders within the NFL community that honor and serve our military, veterans and their families," said Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. "Ben Garland, a member of our military with a demonstrated history of supporting his fellow service members, and Eric Hipple, who cares for the mental health and well-being of our military, are both worthy finalists for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA."
In October, NFL teams nominated the coaches, active and retired players, and team executives and personnel, who best demonstrated support for the military community. The submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges from the U.S. military, the NFL and USAA. Nominees were evaluated based on the impact of the individual's efforts, the type of service conducted and the thoroughness of the program.
The Salute to Service Award is part of the NFL and USAA's year-round commitment to recognize and honor the military community. Below is a list of previous 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|