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atlanta falcons Salute to service week presented by zaxby's

For the fourth year in a row, the Atlanta Falcons honored military veterans, active duty service members and their families during the week of November 5-9, in part of the Falcons Salute to Service week presented by Zaxby’s.

Every year, the NFL and the NFL Players Association come together in honor of Veteran’s Day to celebrate and recognize members of the military. Since 2011, nearly $10 million has been raised through Salute to Service to support the league’s military appreciation.

The Atlanta Falcons organization is driven by a set of core values in which giving back to others is at the core. A deep commitment to serving the military spans across the entire organization – from Owner Arthur M. Blank and AMB Group, CEO Steve Cannon to Head Coach Dan Quinn, assistant coaches, players and associates.
Behind the support from Owner Arthur M. Blank and the leadership of the Atlanta Falcons Community Relations department, the Falcons became the first – and only – team to do an entire week of events dedicated to Salute to Service.

#salutetoservice

Between November 1st and November 19th, every use of #SaluteToService on Twitter will generate a $5 donation, up to $5 million, to the NFL’s military non-profit partners – including the Pat Tilman Foundation, T.A.P.S, USO, Wounded Warrior Project and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

On Veteran’s Day this donation will be increased $25. Since 2011, more than $26 million has been raised through Salute to Service to fund programs and provide resources that positively impact veterans, service members and their families.

gold star night out

To kick off the week-long festivities, several Gold Star Wives were treated to a special evening in Atlanta at the famous American Cut restaurant on Monday night to recognize and honor the women in appreciation for their family’s sacrifice.

The evening started at a nail salon in Buckhead where the ladies were treated to a manicure and pedicure, followed by make-up touch ups at NARS.

“It was really nice to be surprised, I was telling somebody else that just being still long enough to get my nails done was a big treat and the makeup was wonderful as well because I don’t have any time to be still,” said Gold Star Wife, Erikka Mitchell.

G Ben Garland, S Kemal Ishmael, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson and TE Jaeden Graham, along with Atlanta Falcons associates, all joined the women at dinner.

“I was sitting next to Ben Garland and he was a delight – he really was so nice,” Mitchell said. “Him having a military background himself, we kind of bonded over that because my grandad was in the Air Force and he was in the Air Force and his grandad was in the Air Force as well so we talked about that a little bit.”
“We got to take the Gold Star wives out to dinner and treat them and it was really special event for us,” said Garland. “These women have really given it all, sacrificed it all for our country. It was an opportunity to thank them, support them and be a light in their life in a dark moment.”
Also dining at American Cut on Monday night was Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, who stopped to take pictures and chat with the women.

georgia clay national guard

On Tuesday, Falcons players G Ben Garland, TE Eric Saubert, LB Bruce Carter and S Keith Tandy, along with Falcons cheerleaders, Freddie the Falcon and associates, visited Georgia Clay National Guard in Marietta, Georgia.

During the visit, service members from the base flew players around the city of Atlanta in a Black Hawk helicopter giving them a bird’s eye view of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Today we were doing an orientation flight for the Falcons cheerleaders and the Falcons players,” said Chief Sargent Blake Weaver. “They give so much back to the Georgia Guard that we wanted to give them something in return.”
“Anytime that I have the chance to give back to Salute to Service, or anybody in the service, I’m more than willing because they do so much for us,” said Falcons safety, Keith Tandy. “Sometimes you can just take things for granted, it’s things you do every day and you don’t realize exactly what they do for you so when I come here and get to ask them questions and learn more – just to put a smile on their face put’s a smile on mine too.”

moms football academy at fort benning

Even though Wednesday meant back to the practice field for the players, the organization kept the Salute to Service visits going strong. Falcons Legends Buddy Curry and Bobby Butler teamed up with Falcons Community Relations to take Kids & Pros to Fort Benning to host a Moms Football Academy for more than 100 mothers on base and in the community.

Kids & Pros is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation and character-based youth sports organization that engages retired NFL Players in their communities to teach football fundamental skills and character lessons to youth ages seven to 13 years old.

youth football camp - redstone arsenal army base

The support that the state of Georgia gives the Falcons is so inspiring that this year the Falcons expanded their Salute to Service celebrations to Huntsville, Alabama, to host a Youth Football Camp at the Redstone Arsenal Army Base.

The Atlanta Falcons are the only team in the NFL to stretch their Salute to Service visits to another state.

vietnam war veterans breakfast

To wrap up their week-long celebration, the Falcons hosted a breakfast on Friday morning at the Arthur M. Blank Family Office to honor Vietnam War Veterans and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Veterans that were in attendance were treated to breakfast, followed by a special presentation of a commemorative Vietnam War lapel pin. Each veteran in attendance also received a special Falcons gift bag following the event.
Falcons Legends William Andrews, Alge Crumpler, Buddy Curry, Kynan Forney, Mike Haynes, Reggie Kelly, Jerious Norwood, Chris Owens and Joe Zelenka all attended the breakfast to pay their respects to the veterans along with Falcons cheerleaders and associates.

atlanta falcons salute to service game presented by at&t

This past week the Falcons got a jump-start honoring our men and women in uniform – and it doesn’t end there.

The Falcons will host their annual Salute to Service game presented by AT&T on Sunday, November 18th when the Dallas Cowboys come to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. During the game, all 64 players will be wearing a decal with the initials of a fallen hero and the military branch in which they served.

In accordance to their Salute to Service game, on Friday, November 16th, Head Coach Dan Quinn will host 64 T.A.P.S families from across the nation for an all-inclusive weekend at the Flowery Branch Training Facility. The families will attend a “Welcome Party” at the facility on Friday and watch the walk thru on Saturday morning where they will have the chance to meet and spend time with the player honoring their fallen hero at the game the next day.

For Sunday’s game, each T.A.P.S family will be paired with a volunteer suite holder to enjoy the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In addition to the initial decals honoring a fallen hero, players will also be wearing special Salute to Service warm-ups. The game will also feature many other military elements including Honorary Captain, a special guest for the train horn, flag runners to lead the lead team out of the tunnel and much more.

the overwatch fund

Launched in 2018 and administered by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Overwatch Fund awards grants to nonprofit organizations supporting veterans of the U.S. Military in the state of Georgia. A select group of veterans who currently hold positions as associates across The Blank Family of Business lead The Overwatch Fund. The Fund is focused on investments, programs or policies that improve veterans’ conditions related to mental health, homelessness and successful transition from service.

In its inaugural year, grants made by The Overwatch Fund totaled $400,000.
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