NEW YORK -- The NFL and United Services Automobile Association, the League's Official Military Appreciation Sponsor, announced the two finalists for the 2012 Salute to Service Award on Sunday. USAA is a leading provider of insurance and other services to members of the U.S. military and their families.
The Salute to Service Award will be presented to one of the finalists at the "2nd Annual NFL Honors" -- a two-hour prime-time awards special to air nationally on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. In addition, a $25,000 contribution will be made by USAA in the winner's honor to the aid societies representing all five military branches.
"There are many men and women across the NFL who actively support the military and their families," said Steve Speakes, executive vice president of USAA's external affairs and a retired Army lieutenant general. "The Salute to Service Award is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on at least a few of those stories so that we may inspire others to do the same."
Two-time Pro Bowl player Tillman, whose father, Army Sgt. Donald Tillman Jr., retired after 20 years of service, understands the importance of giving back to those who serve our country as well as their families.
During the Bears' bye week this season, Tillman flew to Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, to provide critically-ill children and their families with access to notebook computers, DVD players, digital cameras and MP3 players to help pass the time during recovery as part of his charity's Charles' Locker program. He also regularly conducts youth football camps on military bases, including the Army's Fort Hood and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in California.
Dominik consistently seeks ways to connect his organization with the military, whether it's through training camp invitations for service members, organizing Veterans Affairs hospital visits or providing front-row tickets at Buccaneers' home games. This season, Dominik established a "Salute to Service Suite" at Raymond James Stadium to honor more than a dozen local military heroes at every home game.
With a passion for post-service personal and professional development assistance, Dominik spearheaded the Central Florida Military Resource Fair at Raymond James Stadium. The event, free to military, featured a job fair with federal, state and local employers, as well as interview skill development and resume assistance.
In October 2012, 23 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 based on the positive effect of the individual's efforts 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:
» Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate, three-time Super Bowl champion.
» Rocky Bleier, U.S. Army veteran, four-time Super Bowl champion.
» Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran, former NFL head coach.
» General Stephen Speakes, U.S. Army veteran, USAA executive vice president.
» Paul Hicks, NFL executive vice president, Communications.
Tennessee Titans owner K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr. won the Salute to Service Award in 2011, the award's inaugural year. For more information about the Salute to Service Award, please visit www.nfl.com/salute or www.usaa.com/nfl.
All Salute to Service nominees are listed below:
» Robert Albertino, Kansas City Chiefs, VP Media and Marketing.
» Paul Brondhaver, Cincinnati Bengals, Game Day Volunteer.
» Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, General Manager.
» Mike Flood Seattle Seahawks, Vice President, Community Relations & Special Projects.
» DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles, Wide Receiver.
» Ben Kotwica, New York Jets, Assistant Special Teams.
» Ralph C. Wilson, Buffalo Bills, Owner and President.
USAA provides insurance and more to 9.4 million members of the U.S. military and their families. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military -- and their families. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit USAA.com.