The NFL and USAA awarded Chicago Bears defensive end JARED ALLEN with the fourth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA, the league's Official Military Appreciation Sponsor. The award was created to acknowledge the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support military and their families.
Allen accepted the award at the "4th Annual NFL Honors" awards ceremony in Arizona, the night before Super Bowl XLIX. USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in Allen's honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches.
"Jared Allen is a true leader in the NFL community in his commitment to honoring the service and sacrifice of our nation's military through his Homes 4 Wounded Warriors foundation," said Don Clark, assistant vice president of media and sponsorship marketing at USAA. "Jared's display of military appreciation makes him an inspired choice as the recipient of the Salute to Service Award."
Making a difference in military members' lives with his Homes for Wounded Warriors Foundation (JAH4WW), five-time Pro Bowler Allen makes homes accessible for veterans who return from war with debilitating injures. He builds, purchases or remodels homes to fit the new lifestyle a disabled military member faces. Since the organization's inception in 2009, JAH4WW has raised more than $3.5 million with the goal of donating 10 homes a year to wounded warriors. Allen attended NFL Honors with Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, an Army veteran who received a remodeled home from the JAH4WW Foundation in 2014.
"I am honored and excited to receive this award on behalf of all those who serve this great country" said Allen.
Allen created the Helping Heroes Gala, held annually around Veterans Day, to raise funds for JAH4WW. From NFL-USO tours, military visits and monetary donations, to hosting golf tournaments and galas, Allen is dedicated to honoring and supporting wounded veterans.
In October 2014, 28 NFL clubs nominated coaches, active and retired players, and team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community. These 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:
- 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
- John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach and last year's Salute to Service Award presented by USAA recipient
- Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate, three-time Super Bowl champion
- Paul Hicks, NFL executive vice president of communications
- Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran, former NFL head coach
- Roger Staubach, Naval Academy graduate, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl MVP
Chicago Bears cornerback CHARLES TILLMAN was the 2012 honoree and the inaugural recipient in 2011 was Tennessee Titans late owner K.S. "BUD" ADAMS, a World War II veteran. Earlier this year, the panel named both Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver VINCENT JACKSON finalists before officially naming Allen the fourth annual honoree.
The Salute to Service Award presented by USAA is part of the NFL and USAA's year-long commitment to recognize and honor the military community. To find out more about the NFL's Salute to Service campaign or to read teams' nominations, visit www.nfl.com/salute.
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 10.6 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 us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com