Jackson and Colts Punter Pat McAfee Named Finalists; Award Recipient to be Honored at "5th Annual NFL Honors” Awards Show in San Francisco Bay Area Feb. 6 on CBS the Night Before Super Bowl 50The NFL and USAA, the league’s Official Military Appreciation Sponsor, announced today Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson and Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee as the two finalists for the fifth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.
Jackson and McAfee were selected for their exceptional efforts to acknowledge and support members of the military community. The Salute to Service Award honoree will be recognized at the “5th Annual NFL Honors” awards show that will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on CBS on Saturday, Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50.
USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the winner’s name to the official aid societies representing all five military branches.
“Since joining the NFL to launch Salute to Service in 2011, USAA has been proud to recognize leaders in the NFL community who honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s military,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA’s senior vice president of military affairs. “Vincent Jackson and Pat McAfee have not only supported our military and their families for years through their respective foundations, but they inspired so many others to join their efforts. Both finalists are worthy of this year’s Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.”
A three-time Pro Bowler and four-time Buccaneers team captain, Jackson has embraced his role as a league ambassador for military appreciation. 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. This is the third year in a row the Buccaneers have nominated Jackson for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. He was the 2014 runner-up for the award.
"I'm humbled to be considered for this honor once again. Thank you to the NFL and USAA for continuously providing support and recognition for our nation's military heroes,” said Jackson. “I'm proud to be from a military family, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to not only support the selfless members of our Armed Services but their loved ones as well."
In 2014, Jackson and his wife, Lindsey, took pen to paper for a unique and impactful project that would both serve as an outlet for the challenges Jackson faced as a military child as well as support the lives of a younger generation enduring the same experiences. Danny Dogtags: Dealing with Deployment, officially hit bookshelves in 2014 to rave reviews from children and families in Tampa Bay and beyond, and may serve as the first in a series of stories written by Jackson about the main character, Danny Dogtags, and lessons on embracing the military lifestyle.
One of Jackson’s most popular initiatives is an event that showcases the softer side of the 6-5, 230-pound receiver. In July 2015, Jackson hosted the Second Annual Military Moms Baby Shower for 40 expecting or recently delivered military moms from MacDill Air Force Base and Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. For the second year in a row, Jackson and his wife surprised each woman with more than $1,000 in merchandise, including a stroller and car seat for each family, to help them care for their infant, and thousands of dollars in additional gifts and prizes were raffled off.
This past November, Jackson took on perhaps his biggest charitable challenge to date, as the Jackson In Action 83 Foundation hosted their inaugural Military Resource and Employment Symposium, presented by USAA, at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The one-day event provided veterans and military families with career opportunities, educational assistance, and resources necessary to aid their transition from military to civilian life. The event included a career fair, a resource fair, and speaking sessions from professionals in their field related to topics important to veterans and military members, providing more than 1,000 military members and their families with information on career opportunities and resources. Later in November, the foundation hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 50 military members who had a family member deployed or were otherwise unable to be with extended family during the holiday.
These types of initiatives stretch throughout the calendar year. In June 2015, Jackson once again welcomed 100 military children to One Buc Place for the third annual Youth in Action Camp; the Salute to Reading Program launched year three in 2015, inspiring local youths to achieve reading goals with the prize of Buccaneers facility tours and a year-end celebration hosted by Jackson; for the fourth year in a row, the "Jackson in Action" Front Row Fans section at Raymond James Stadium provided a special gameday experience for dozens of local military families; and the Salute to Scholars program added a scholarship in 2015 to award two $2,500 scholarships, one at Jackson’s high school alma mater in Colorado Springs, CO and one in the Tampa Bay area, to a military dependent entering college.
In addition, the foundation’s 2014 Back to School Supply Drop geared 150 children at MacDill Air Force Base with new backpacks full of school supplies; his 2014 Military Family Home Makeover provided the home of Staff Sergeant Jessica Fleurimond in Tampa with a beautiful interior redesign in time for Veterans’ Day; dozens of children with a deployed parent joined Jackson at his Fall Festival for a fun-filled day of hayrides, animal encounters, games, and lunch at Old McMicky’s Farm; and his annual Santa Social event offered a special holiday party for young military families, including an evening with Jackson and Santa, arts and crafts, holiday snacks, and gifts for the children.
In November 2015, 29 NFL clubs nominated coaches, active and retired players and team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges, including last year’s recipient, Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen. Nominees’ qualifications are evaluated based on the individual’s positive impact 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 U.S. military, the NFL and USAA, includes:
- Vice Admiral John Bird (Ret.), U.S. Navy veteran, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs
- Rocky Bleier, U.S. Army veteran, four-time Super Bowl champion
- Jared Allen, Carolina Panthers defensive end and the 2014 Salute to Service Award recipient
- Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate, three-time Super Bowl champion
- Tod Leiweke, NFL Chief Operating Officer
- Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran, former NFL head coach
- Roger Staubach, Naval Academy graduate, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl MVP
Previous winners include:
- Defensive end Jared Allen (2014), then with Chicago Bears, now with Carolina Panthers
- Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh (2013)
- Cornerback Charles Tillman (2012), then with Chicago Bears, now with Carolina Panthers
- Tennessee Titans late owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, a World War II veteran (2011)
2015 SALUTE TO SERVICE TEAM NOMINEES
SALUTE TO SERVICE AWARD PRESENTED BY USAA
|Arizona Cardinals||Larry Fitzgerald Jr. (WR)|
|Atlanta Falcons||Dan Quinn (Head Coach)|
|Baltimore Ravens||Steve Smith Sr. (WR)|
|Buffalo Bills||Manny Lawson (LB)|
|Carolina Panthers||Ron Rivera (Head Coach)|
|Chicago Bears||Matt Slauson (G/C)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Johanna Kappner (Finance Employee)|
|Cleveland Browns||Alex Mack (C)|
|Dallas Cowboys||Darren Woodson (Former S)|
|Denver Broncos||Malik Jackson (DE)|
|Green Bay Packers||Zeke Bratkowski (Former QB)|
|Houston Texans||Brian Cushing (LB)|
|Indianapolis Colts||Pat McAfee (P)|
|Jacksonville Jaguars*||Roy Miller (DT)*|
|Jacksonville Jaguars*||Matthew Smiley (Assistant Special Teams Coach)*|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Mike DeVito (DE)|
|Miami Dolphins||Jason Fox (OT)|
|New England Patriots||Robert Kraft (Owner)|
|New Orleans Saints||Sean Payton (Head Coach)|
|New York Giants||Tom Coughlin (Head Coach)|
|New York Jets||Eric Decker (WR)|
|Oakland Raiders||Napoleon McCallum (Former RB)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Zach Ertz (TE)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Alejandro Villanueva (OT)|
|St. Louis Rams||Jeff Fisher (Head Coach)|
|San Francisco 49ers||Torrey Smith (WR)|
|San Diego Chargers||Mike McCoy (Head Coach)|
|Seattle Seahawks||Jermaine Kearse (WR)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Vincent Jackson (WR)|
|Washington Redskins||Andre Roberts (WR)|
***The Jaguars submitted two nominees.
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 11.2 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.