The NFL and USAA, an official NFL Salute to Service partner, named Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Commanders, as the recipient of the 2022 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. The award acknowledges the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL family to honor and support members of the military community.
Rivera will be recognized at NFL Honors on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 9 PM ET / 8 PM CT on NBC, NFL Network and Peacock. USAA, a leading provider of insurance, banking and other financial services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in Rivera's honor to the official aid societies representing each of the military branches. The NFL Foundation will match USAA's donation of $25,000, which will be donated to Rivera's military charity of choice.
"During his time as an NFL head coach, Ron Rivera has set the standard for military appreciation, helping educate an entire generation of NFL community members on the importance of supporting our military, veterans, and their families," said Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. "Having grown up in a military family, Coach Rivera understands sacrifice and what it means to serve, and we thank him for carrying his service of our military forward, as we honor him as the recipient of this year's Salute to Service Award presented by USAA."
Rivera attributes his success in the face of adversity to his military upbringing and values instilled in him growing up the son of a career U.S. Army warrant officer. Having grown up on military installations, Rivera understands the demands of military life and the sacrifices made by service members and their families. Rivera has been committed to giving back to the military and veteran communities. He consistently connects his teams with service members and military families to recognize their service and sacrifice.
In May, Rivera, Commanders players Jonathan Allen and Jamin Davis, and co-owner and co-CEO Tanya Snyder surprised departing troops with a visit at BWI Airport and passed out care packages to troops as they waited to board their planes. Rivera also took time in training camp to visit with more than 250 service members and veterans at the club's Salute to Service Day. Additionally, he brought the entire team to Joint Base Andrews for a practice before the first preseason game and hosted nine wounded/paralyzed veterans at Operation Warrior Wishes.
Rivera hosted Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) families at the OrthoVirginia Training Center at Commanders Park for the second consecutive year at a special event to honor surviving families. He is donating the proceeds from his appearances on the SiriusXM NFL Radio channel to the United Service Organizations (USO). Rivera's work with multiple military-related non-profits over the years has used the NFL's platform to provide service members, veterans and military families with first-class recognition, experiences and support.
"It is a tremendous honor to be selected as the Salute to Service Award recipient. I humbly accept this award on behalf of my father, Eugenio Rivera, who served as a warrant officer in the United States military for 32 years. Having grown up in a military household, I experienced the sacrifices that military members and their families must make firsthand, and I have always wanted to use my platform to raise awareness and assist the great men and women of our armed forces and their families," said Ron Rivera. "I am thankful that the NFL has put an emphasis on bringing awareness to the ways we can support the men and women who fight for our freedom. I want to thank the Washington Commanders for dedicating significant resources in support of the military and in giving myself and our team numerous opportunities to do our part to show our troops that we support and care about them."
The 32 nominees were announced in November and consisted of active and retired players, coaches, and team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community. New this year, fans helped choose the three finalists, which were determined by a vote of fans, an NFL internal committee and USAA. Nominees were evaluated on the effect of their efforts on the military community, the type of service conducted, the thoroughness of the program and the level of commitment.
The panel of judges from the U.S. military community, the NFL and USAA, includes:
Below is the list of previous Salute to Service Award recipients:
|2021||Andrew Beck||Denver Broncos|
|2020||Steve Cannon (CEO)||Atlanta Falcons|
|2019||Donnie Edwards||Los Angeles Chargers|
|2018||Ben Garland||Atlanta Falcons|
|2017||Andre Roberts||Atlanta Falcons|
|2016||Dan Quinn (Head Coach)||Atlanta Falcons|
|2015||Vincent Jackson (Late Legend)||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|
The Salute to Service Award is part of the NFL and USAA's year-round commitment to recognize and honor the military community. Fans can join the NFL and USAA in honoring the military community by visiting NFL.com/Causes/Salute.