NFL, USAA announce finalists for 2013 Salute to Service Award

NEW YORK -- The NFL and USAA, the NFL's Official Military Appreciation Sponsor, announced today Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh as finalists for the third annual NFL Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.

The Salute to Service Award winner will be recognized at the "3rd Annual NFL Honors" awards show in New York City on Fox TV Saturday, the night before Super Bowl XLVIII.

Allen and Harbaugh were selected as finalists for their exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community.

Making a difference in our military members' lives with his Homes for Wounded Warriors Foundation, 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 soldier faces. In 2013, the organization gave five military families new homes. Allen created the Helping Heroes Gala, held annually around Veterans Day, to raise funds for the organization. Additionally, Allen helped bring members of the Minnesota National Guard to a Vikings practice. Guardsmen had the opportunity to meet players, receive autographs and take photos with the team. Allen surprised the Guardsmen with tickets to a Vikings game.

Harbaugh has demonstrated a passion for supporting military initiatives by taking part in the annual NFL-USO coaches' tour of the Middle East in 2009. This included visiting numerous military bases, purchasing school supplies for children whose parents were serving in the military and putting care packages together for troops overseas. A Salute to Service Award finalist in 2011, Harbaugh has helped institute Military Appreciation Day, an annual event that takes place during Ravens training camp, and includes a visit by the team to Gettysburg, Pa. during offseason team activities to learn about the Civil War. Harbaugh invites wounded warriors as his guests to every Ravens home game and in 2012 he was presented with the Outstanding Civilian Service Award by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.

"The Salute to Service Award provides a unique opportunity to recognize individuals who are going above and beyond to support military and their families," said Don Clark, Assistant Vice President of Media and Sponsorship Marketing at USAA. "Coach Harbaugh and Jared Allen show an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community and their families. We are thrilled to highlight their work and inspire others to do the same."

In November 2013, NFL clubs nominated players, alumni, coaches and personnel who demonstrate an exceptional effort to support the military. 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 NFL, USAA and the U.S. military, includes:

  • Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears cornerback and 2012 Salute to Service Award winner
  • 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
  • Vice Admiral John Bird, United States Naval Academy graduate, Senior Vice President of Military Affairs at USAA
  • Paul Hicks, NFL Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs

Tillman, whose father served 20 years in the Army, has been a longstanding advocate of recognizing military members and veterans. USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families, contributed $25,000 in his honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. USAA will contribute $25,000 in honor of this year's winner.

The inaugural winner in 2011 was Tennessee Titans owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, a World War II veteran. Adams passed away in October, leaving behind a legacy as a longstanding advocate of all servicemen and women.

To read teams' Salute to Service award nominations or to find out more about the NFL's commitment to the military and veterans, visit

-- NFL Communications

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