Yesterday was Veteran’s Day, a day which is reserved for honoring those of the military community for their sacrifices and commitment to preserving the freedoms we enjoy in everyday life. Every year since 2011, the NFL and USAA have awarded an individual who has shown “an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community” with their Salute to Service award. Nominees are players, coaches, personnel, and alumni nominated by each NFL club.
On Monday, it was announced that Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank would be this year’s nominee for the Falcons. Since 2008, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed more than $28 million in grants to nonprofits supporting the military and veterans. The foundation also guides seven associate-led giving committees operating across the Blank Family of Businesses, one of which has a focus on supporting veterans and their families. In February of this year, Blank joined The Home Depot co-founder, Bernie Marcus, and actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise to launch the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network.
This cognitive health and mental wellness network provides transformative care to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and substance abuse. In 2019, Blank joined Falcons players, coaches, and staff on a two-day trip to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he led engagements on leadership and service with cadets, academy leaders and the Army football team. You can read more about the Falcons’ visit to West Point by clicking here.
Throughout the years, the Falcons as an organization have had a strong commitment to supporting and honoring the military community. Several former and current members of the Falcons’ organization have taken home the Salute to Service award, including Steve Cannon (2021), Dan Quinn (2020), Ben Garland (2018), Andre Roberts (2017) and Dan Quinn (2016).
Finalists for the award are expected to be announced in January, with the recipient of the 11th annual Salute to Service award being recognized at the NFL Honors awards show, which is set to air the week of Super Bowl LVI.