Justin Pugh (Guard)
Justin Pugh, a Guard with the Arizona Cardinals, personifies each pillar of the NFL's Salute to Service campaign. He honors and appreciates the sacrifices made by veterans by understanding their unique sacrifices for the citizens of this country to have their freedom. Pugh shows this appreciation for our veterans through the non-profit he supports called Merging Vets and Players (MVP). He has played an important role in the MVP organization by empowering veterans and NFL players to embrace their stories and experiences by connecting them with each other once the veterans are no longer wearing their uniforms. MVP recently held an event at the Cardinals training facility in which Justin participated in. The event featured a 30-minute workout for the 53 veterans in attendance and was followed by a roundtable discussion about the mental struggles that both the players and the veterans deal with. Pugh believes that having a "macho mentality" is all too common, not only within the NFL but also within the military community. Pugh, whose brother Michael currently serves in the United States Air Force, understands the mental health challenges that both players and veterans can experience. His willingness to speak on the importance of mental health and share his own story gives a lot of confidence to other veterans and players to speak up about issues of their own. He wants to continue to be an example for veterans by gradually erasing the stigma that surrounds mental health.