Veteran's Day is a day where we thank and honor those who have served in the United States armed forces, but several Colts players take the opportunity to do that throughout the year and not just on one day in November. One such player is punter Pat McAfee, who was recently announced as the Colts' nominee for the NFL's Salute to Service Award.
The Salute to Service Award is a partnership between the NFL and USAA to honor people with the NFL who support the military community. Each team names their nominee for the award, and then the finalists are announced in January. The winner is recognized as a part of the annual NFL Honors show the night before the Super Bowl.
For McAfee, this is the third year in a row in which he has been named the Colts' nominee for this award, and he was a semi-finalist last year. Past winners of the award include Jared Allen (2014), John Harbaugh (2013), Charles Tillman (2012), and Bud Adams (2011). McAfee has been very involved in supporting our armed forces and their families, and he has done quite a bit to help them out - earning him this recognition. Here is the NFL's write-up on why McAfee is the Colts' nominee:
While many football fans around the country may know Pat McAfee as the punter for the Indianapolis Colts, individuals in Indiana know him as a lot more than just a punter. During his seven seasons with the team, Pat has become known as one of the most charitable and community-minded players on the team. While he has supported numerous charitable endeavors both locally and nationally, the one that is most near and dear to his heart is the men and women of the Armed Forces. Because of his extraordinary acts of kindness and generosity toward our troops, we are pleased to nominate him as our 2015 Salute to Service award winner. Since establishing the Pat McAfee Foundation to provide scholarship assistance to the sons and daughters of US Military Personnel, Pat has distributed more than $150,000 in scholarships. Each year he hosts the Red, White & Boomstick Gala to raise funds for his foundation. In addition, in 2015 he made numerous personal donations to military organizations and families including nearly $25,000 to military families who lost their homes to fires, $10,000 to an active duty soldier for him and his son to have a new furnished apartment and $25,000 to military families during the 2014 holidays. For the past few years McAfee has also sponsored a Community Ticket Block at all of the Colts games, providing 20 tickets and meal vouchers to military for each game. Additionally, he gives of his time to several military organizations, speaking at events and meeting individually with men and women of the Armed Forces. One of the organizations closest to Pat's heart is Wish for Our Heroes, a non-profit organization that grants the wishes of servicemen and women, and provides resources for them. Later this year, Pat is hosting a New Year's Eve Comedy Show to benefit Wish for Our Heroes and their work with troops suffering from PTSD. He is also donating a portion of the proceeds from his recently released comedy special "PAT McAFEE: UNCAGED" to them. During each Colts Training Camp, Pat does a meet and greet with more than 50 military members and their families during the team's "Military Appreciation Day." He takes time to talk one-on-one with each family and sign autographs for them. Much of Pat's work is done behind the scenes and out of the spotlight, sharing his time and resources with troops and their families, and ensuring they know how much he cares for, and respects, the sacrifices they've made in service to our country.
In the midst of a lot of negative attention that the NFL receives, it's always nice to see players making a positive impact in their communities, and without a doubt Pat McAfee fits in that category.
With it being Veterans Day, however, several other Colts (including McAfee) have taken to twitter to express their appreciation for our military veterans:
It doesn't have 2 be #VeteransDay 2 show constant appreciation 2 the heroes from the military..But it's a great day to start..Thank you vets— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 11, 2015
So Blessed to live in America and thankful to all our men and women who serve to protect our country and our freedom! Happy Veterans Day— Joe Reitz (@JoeReitz76) November 11, 2015
To the real heroes, thank you! Happy Veterans Day pic.twitter.com/NnB4f49VkH— Matt Overton (@MattOverton_LS) November 11, 2015
Phillip Dorsett (@Dorsett_4) November 11, 2015