Falcons Ben Garland receives 2018 Salute to Service Award

Elizabeth Howe
January 31, 2019 - 9:59 am

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Ben Garland, offensive guard for the Atlanta Falcons and Air Force Academy alumn, received the 2018 Salute to Service Award to acknowledge his efforts to honor and support members of the military community.

“I am honored to win the award, but, honestly, I am just honored to be part of an organization that puts military first from the top down, from Arthur Blank to our head coach,” Garland said. “They do so much for our military and I am proud to be with an organization that is the spear in the NFL of showing how to do it right and how to truly give back and say thank you to the military members that absolutely deserve it.”

After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 2009, Garland was stationed at Scott Air Force Base from 2010-2012. He was signed by the Falcons in 2015 and is now the third consecutive Falcons player to receive the Salute to Service Award.

In 2018, Garland traveled on two USO tours — one to Italy and Germany and another to Iraq and Kuwait. Garland has worked to help veterans adjust after service and raise awareness of PTSD. As a Colorado Air National Guardsman, he also supports his fellow active duty service members with donated game tickets and visits. In 2018, he participated in the Armed Forces Mission's Georgia LOSS Walk, walking alongside veterans, service members, and their families in honor of "Turning the Tide on Veteran Suicide."

Photo by Master Sgt. Horace Murray

USAA, the presenter of the award, will contribute $25,000 to all five military branches on Garland's behalf, and the NFL will match USAA's donation to Garland's military charity of choice. 

“From his time at the Air Force Academy and continuing throughout his NFL playing career, Ben Garland has embodied and demonstrated the understanding and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the U.S. military and their families for which this award stands,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA senior vice president of military affairs. “In the true spirit of the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA, we salute Ben for his tireless effort to support our military, veterans, and their families, as well as his own service to our country as a member of the Colorado Air National Guard.”

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