The NFL and USAA, announced 32 nominees for the 6th annual Salute to Service Award on Monday, and quarterback Drew Brees represents the New Orleans Saints. The Salute to Service Award annually recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community, as nominated by NFL clubs.
The Salute to Service Award is part of the NFL and USAA's year-round commitment to recognize and honor the military community. The league’s military appreciation efforts culminate in November with NFL Salute to Service games and other special events to celebrate and honor members of the military. For every point scored during the NFL's 32 designated Salute to Service games (last week against the 49ers for the Saints, and Week 10 against the Broncos), the league donates $1,000 to each of its core military non-profit partners – the Pat Tillman Foundation, USO and Wounded Warrior Project.
Why Drew Brees?
Brees currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Brees has proudly participated in five USO overseas tours, and he and his wife, Brittany, partnered with the K9s for Warriors program, which is designed to pair up service K9s with those who served in the military post 9/11.
Here’s a thorough list of some of the things Brees has done.
Throughout his 16-year NFL career, Brees has stressed a commitment to showing appreciation for the sacrifices of the United States military. Both of his grandfathers served in World War II. One of them, Robert Ray Akins served in the 1st Marine Division and fought in the bloody invasion of Okinawa in 1945. The following are some of his contributions to military. Brees currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Brees has proudly participated in five USO trips to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Turkey, Djibouti, Dubai, Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay. In 2014, Brees organized an event with several other NFL players called the "NFL Football Star Experience" aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (Calif.), where they showed drills and exercises to Marines, sailors and family members and then conducted pass-and-throw drills with members of the Miramar Falcons team and signed autographs. In May of 2015, Brees attended Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School Mess Night in Quantico, Va. In his most recent show of support for our nation's military this past summer, Brees and his wife, Brittany partnered with the K9s for Warriors program, which is designed to pair up service K9s with those who served in the military post 9/11 and are suffering from PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disability), military sexual trauma or traumatic brain injury. In their participation, the Brees' sponsored the donation of a German Shepard mix, fittingly named "Brees" to Air Force veteran April Sandlin, who currently suffers from PTSD.
Finalists for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA will be announced in January, and the recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors awards show in Houston, TX on FOX on Saturday, Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.
To learn more about the NFL's military appreciation work or to read teams' Salute to Service Award nominations, visit www.nfl.com/salute.