(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: During our nation’s recent National Veterans Day Holiday weekend, and the NFL’s Week #10, the Los Angeles Chargers “Salute To Service” game, along with its other associated outreach events, that honored past and present military members, was very successful with several families plus a Veterans community group benefitting from the Club’s deep and strong commitment of support to ALL members of our Armed Services.
Please give a good read to the press announcement of the summary made available to the press corps that follow the team, and learn of the wide-range of military in-reach and outreach efforts that the team displayed during this impressive, respectable, and special week of acknowledgment to our courageous members of the military, both past and present.
Chargers Salute to Service Game Continues Team’s Commitment to Honoring Military Members Past and Present
This year the Bolts and American Airlines joined forces to host several events in support of the military community leading up to game-day, including a surprise visit by Chargers’ 2023 Salute to Service nominee Morgan Fox with a Gold Star Family.
The Los Angeles Chargers decades-long commitment to honoring and supporting our country’s military heroes, past and present, continued on Sunday, November 12th as the organization once again expressed its gratitude for the sacrifices of active-duty service members, veterans and their families during its annual Salute to Service game.
The Chargers and Spanos family, whose patriarch and late owner Alex Spanos served in the Air Force during World War II, have an extensive history of supporting service members and their families throughout the years. For decades, the Chargers have hosted Wounded Warriors, military veterans, active-duty servicemen and women and T.A.P.S and Gold Star families at the team facility during Salute to Service week to watch practice and meet the team. The Bolts have also held team building events at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, practiced at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and conducted walk-through practices at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Naval Base San Diego (32nd Street) and on the flight decks of USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Abraham Lincoln.
This year the Chargers partnered with American Airlines to reinforce both organizations’ continued support and gratitude – through a variety of impactful programs – to those who have and continue to serve.
In October, team personnel, along with American Airlines volunteers, collaborated to renovate the Welcome Center at U.S. Vets in Long Beach. The center, which provides essential services including transitional housing, permanent housing, employment and housing services to veterans, also received new furniture and hygiene kits for its residents that were all assembled by the volunteers.
Less than a month later, defensive lineman and Chargers 2023 Salute to Service nominee Morgan Fox surprised a Gold Star Family – an immediate family member (or members) of a fallen service member – with a visit. Fox, who has been recognized for his tireless efforts in support of military programs such as Wounded Warriors Project, extended an exclusive invitation to the family to watch the Nov. 12 game from the American Airlines Seats for Heroes luxury suite. Joining the Gold Star Family in the suite were 40 wounded service members from USO San Diego and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Further highlighting his second Salute to Service Award nomination by the Chargers, Fox was selected to be featured in the NFL’s “We See You” umbrella campaign and narrates the league’s broadcast spot. With a father who is an Army Veteran and a Wounded Warrior Project member, Morgan serves as a role model by helping other veterans manage PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The NFL’s broadcast spot, featuring Fox, recognizes that while much of the military community watches teams and sees NFL players’ strength on gameday, the NFL family likewise sees the strength of – and sacrifices made by – those currently serving to defend our country and by our nation’s Veterans. The (:30) second NFL broadcast spot can be viewed here.
In the ongoing build-up to the 11/12 Sunday game, on Friday, Nov. 10th the Chargers hosted player meet-and-greets with five T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families. These families were given the opportunity to collect autographs and take pictures with coaches and players following the team’s final practice prior to the game. The following day, the Chargers and American Airlines treated the T.A.P.S. families to an all-inclusive day at Top Golf El Segundo, adjacent to the Bolts’ new training facility set to open next year. The meet-and-greet is one of several visits arranged for non-profit military outreach organizations through the Boots & Bolts program sponsored by American Airlines.
During Sunday’s 11/12 game, fans took notice of the Salute to Service game-day apparel and special branding throughout the stadium, including camouflage “BOLT UP” letters on the stadium concourse. The game also featured on-field items such as Salute to Service ribbon footballs and camouflage equipment for players including quarterback towels, captains patches, Gatorade towels, New Era caps and knits and Nike apparel products. To see the 2023 Chargers Salute to Service Collection available at the team store in SoFI Stadium and online, click here.
Prior to kick-off, the National Anthem was performed by retired United States Navy Petty Officer First Class Steven Powell, a nine-time Navy Achievement Medal recipient and 25-year Navy veteran. Powell was joined on field for the anthem by more than 200 military veterans who helped unfurl a full-field American flag.
At halftime, the Chargers recognized five T.A.P.S. fallen heroes: United States Air Force Senior Airman Geanny Bada, United States Army Specialist Daniel Cagle, United States Army Private First Class David Lars Harscheid, United States Marine Corps Private First Class Andrew Houston and United States Army Staff Sergeant Roy Joel Mejares. Following the recognition, Petty Officer First Class Powell returned to perform “God Bless the U.S.A” and Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Baby Rose performed “Hallelujah.”
As outreach from the Chargers to military personnel and numerous affiliated organizations has long been personal, so too is the outreach for many Chargers players. The following current Chargers players are proud of their loved ones who have served our country in the Armed Forces:
*K/Cameron Dicker’s great-grandfather served in the Army
*DL/Morgan Fox’s father and grandfather served in the Army
*S/Alohi Gilman’s grandfather served in the Navy
*LS/Josh Harris’ father and brother served in the Army
*G/T Brenden Jaimes’ grandfather served in the military
*WR/Quentin Johnston’s parents served in the Army
*LB/Nick Niemann’s grandfather and great uncle served in the military
*T/Trey Pipkins’ uncle served in the Army
*OLB/Chris Rumph’s grandfather served in the military
*OL/Jamaree Salyer’s uncle served in the Navy
*P/JK Scott’s brother served in the Air Force
*T/Rashawn Slater’s brother served in the Air Force
*DB/Mark Webb Jr.’s cousins served in the military
•WR/Mike Williams’ father served in the Army
The Chargers commitment to honoring the military community extends beyond game day. The team held a grand re-opening of the U.S. Vets Welcome Center on Nov. 14 and veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project met players following practice on Nov. 17 as part of the Boots & Bolts program.