NEW YORK, N.Y. - The NFL awarded Baltimore Ravens Head Coach JOHN HARBAUGH with the 2013 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.
Harbaugh accepted the award at the "3rd Annual NFL Honors" awards ceremony in New York City, the night before Super Bowl XLVIII.
"My good fortune is that I've had the opportunity to spend time with members of our military. From those stationed in the Middle East to others I have met in the States, there is a common theme with those I have met and some whom we've put in front of our team. These are great and smart men and women. And, they are sacrificing for all of us," said Coach Harbaugh. "They deserve our respect, support and, importantly, our thanks every day. We try to do that as often as we can. They inspire us. Members of the military are all about team. They have each other's backs. They defend us. They protect us. I salute all of them."
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, visiting numerous military bases, purchasing school supplies for children whose parents are 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 has taken the Ravens 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.
In November 2013, NFL clubs nominated players, alumni, coaches and personnel who demonstrate a commitment to honoring 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 joins representatives from the NFL, USAA and the U.S. military. Panelist include CHARLES TILLMAN, ROGER STAUBACH, CHAD HENNINGS, ROCKY BLEIER, JIM MORA, and VICE ADMIRAL JOHN M. BIRD. Earlier this year, the panel named both Harbaugh and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen finalists before officially naming Harbaugh the 2013 winner.
Chicago Bears cornerback CHARLES TILLMAN was named last year's winner and the inaugural winner in 2011 was Tennessee Titans late owner K.S. "BUD" ADAMS, a World War II veteran. USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families, contributed $25,000 in Tillman's honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. USAA will contribute $25,000 in Harbaugh's name this year.
"We congratulate Coach Harbaugh for winning the 2013 Salute to Service Award and thank him for his continued support of the military community," said Don Clark, assistant Vice President of Media and Sponsorship Marketing at USAA. "We appreciate the exemplary commitment from all of the nominees to honor the military and their families. We are thrilled to highlight their work and hope it inspires football fans everywhere to salute all veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces."
For more information on the Salute to Service Award or to find out more about the NFL's commitment to the military and veterans, visit www.nfl.com/salute.
About USAA - USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.6 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 or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their eligible family members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.