The Chicago Bears have nominated offensive lineman Cody Whitehair for the thirteenth annual “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.”
“The Salute to Service Award presented by USAA acknowledges the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support U.S. service members, veterans, and their families.”
Last season, former Bears player and coach Ron Rivera won the award, and in 2012, Charles Tillman was honored as the award recipient.
Here’s the NFL.com press release about Whitehair:
As a veteran leader on the team, Cody consistently supports the community and particularly members of the military. As part of a series of videos, he showed his support for the Pat Tillman Foundation as they brought military Tillman Scholar, Catherine Paris, to Halas Hall to talk about the importance of service, the parallels between elite athletes and veterans, and the way Pat’s legacy of humble leadership continues through the NFL and Tillman Scholars. For the second year in a row, Cody purchased four tickets through the Bears Home Team Hand-Off ticket donation program and donated them to our Boeing Military Salute honoree and their family.
At each Bears home game, a deserving member of the military is honored in an on-field recognition during the third quarter. The Military Salute provides the opportunity for the Bears, Boeing, and fans to give thanks to those who protect our country and also honor the history and heritage of Soldier Field. Cody has enhanced the program not only by personally donating tickets, but by giving each honoree one of his signed jerseys as a memory of the day. He plans to continue his military support by taking part in our team’s Salute to Service events throughout the month of November, including a visit to Great Lakes Naval Base near the Bears training facility.
Bears fans, this year, you can help Whitehair become one of three finalists for the award by visiting NFL.com/SaluteFanVote from now until November 30. One vote per day, per fan is permitted.
Here’s a clip from when Cody was at the Naval Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. He visited the facility along with long-snapper Patrick Scales, punter Trenton Gill, and defensive end Khalid Kareem.
“It was pretty cool,” Whitehair said of visiting Great Lakes. “To go through a day in their life with recruit training and to see what they do on the ship to train, it was a great experience overall, something I’ve never done before.”
Thursday night’s contest against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field will be Chicago’s Salute to Service game.
The Bear hosted some events this week to honor and support the military, and you can see a photo gallery at the team’s site here.