NFL Salute to Service | NFL.com

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SALUTE TO SERVICE AWARD

Presented by USAA

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Danny Vitale (Fullback)

If you were to ask any of Danny's teammates and friends to describe him in one word, often they would respond with "patriotic." Danny Vitale embodies what it means to support one's country and its United States Armed Forces through his constant support and patriotism. Danny is involved with numerous organizations and their efforts to support the military on and off the battlefield. This past Memorial Day, Danny completed his fourth Murph Challenge. Every Memorial Day, the Murph Challenge honors former Navy Seal Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, who was killed during Operation Red Wings, in 2005. The challenge requires participants to run one mile, perform 100 pull ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and then run an additional mile, all while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest. Through Danny's support, and the support of many others, over $1 million through The Murph Challenge for the Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. Danny's appreciation for the military has also been inspired by the service of one of his best friends, Tom Hruby. Tom was a teammate of Danny's at Northwestern, and also served as a Navy SEAL. Tom helped introduce Danny to Taya Kyle, the widow of the highly decorated former Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle. Following her husband's death, Taya Kyle started the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation which helps veterans to reconnect with their family and readjust to civilian life when they return home from military duty. Vitale honored the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation with his "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign in 2017.

Danny often uses his platform to promote the organization and share their amazing efforts and hopes to continue honoring the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. Last year, Danny and three teammates took a Blackhawk helicopter to the Wisconsin Challenge Academy to spend the day with cadets at Fort McCoy. The Challenge Academy is a program that helps at-risk youth, ages 16-18, by reshaping their lives through a structured military environment to help them get their life back on track. Danny and his teammates ate lunch with the cadets, took a tour of the barracks and held a Q&A session to help inspire and motivate them to become better members of society. This fall, Danny and six teammates served as honorary captains for the Packers' first "Huddle for Heroes." This military event hosted 56 Wisconsin veterans for an afternoon of personal interaction with the players and interactive sports games. As part of the event, players and veterans all wrote a letter to an active duty military serviceman or woman to offer encouragement and gratitude for all that they are doing for our country overseas. Danny Vitale constantly represents what it means to support the military. Often on his social media posts, he describes his visits to memorials and military sites, and honors those who have fought for our country. He never takes for granted the rights and freedoms our military fights to defend each day, and his nomination for this prestigious award has only motivated him further to be a tireless advocate for the military and veterans.