Commanders coach Ron Rivera named NFL’s Salute to Service Award recipient

Ron Rivera named NFL's Salute to Service Award recipient originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera was named the recipient of the league’s annual Salute to Service Award, the club announced on Wednesday.

Rivera, 61, is the 12th winner of the Salute to Service Award, which is given out each year to one member throughout the league that demonstrates continued support for the military community. The Commanders coach will officially be honored during the league’s season-ending award show, the NFL Honors, on Thursday evening in Arizona. 

Throughout his coaching career, Rivera has oft pointed to his military background as a major reason for his success. The head coach accepted the award via a statement on Wednesday on behalf of his father, Eugenio, who served in the military for over three decades.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as the Salute to Service Award recipient,” Rivera said in a statement. “I humbly accept this award on behalf of my father, Eugenio Rivera, who served as a Warrant Officer in the United States Military for 32 years. Having grown up in a military household, I experienced the sacrifices that military members and their families must make firsthand, and I have always wanted to use my platform to raise awareness and assist the great men and women of our armed forces and their families.

“I am thankful that the NFL has put an emphasis on bringing awareness to the ways we can support the men and women who fight for our freedom,” he continued. “I want to thank the Washington Commanders for dedicating significant resources in support of the military and in giving myself and our team numerous opportunities to do our part to show our troops that we support and care about them.”

Rivera was at the forefront of multiple military-themed events this year. In May, the head coach was joined by co-owner Tanya Snyder, and teammates Jonathan Allen and Jamin Davis to surprise troops at BWI airport with care packages before they boarded their planes.

A few months later, the Commanders held a Salute to Service day during training camp, where Rivera spent time with over 250 former and current members of the military. Additionally, the Commanders practiced at the Andrews Air Force base during training camp in what’s become an annual tradition for the club.

Two weeks ago, the NFL announced three finalists for the award: Rivera, San Francisco tight end George Kittle and Cincinnati tight end Hayden Hurst. After winning the award, USAA will contribute $25,000 in Rivera’s honor to aid societies representing each branch of the military. The NFL will match USAA’s donation, too.

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