CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was announced Monday as the team’s nominee for the “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.”
The award, presented annually by USAA and the NFL, honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.
Upon entering the NFL in 2017 following a career at Stanford University, McCaffrey quickly established a focal point for his outreach efforts.
“I’ve always had a huge respect for the military,” McCaffrey said. “I have a little bit of military background on my dad’s side, so growing up it’s just some of the values instilled in me at a young age. Without the men and women who defend our country, I wouldn’t be able to play the game that I love so much.”
Christian has partnered with military service organizations USO of North Carolina and Veterans Bridge Home in a variety of morale-raising and fundraising efforts over the past five seasons with the Panthers. He has also joined forces with team and league partners USAA and Lowe’s to support their military outreach initiatives.
The star running back’s game day tradition of providing tickets to service members to each Panthers home game has served dozens of active-duty military.
In 2021, Christian embarked on a deeply personal effort to support troops and their families dealing with the challenges of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as his foundation established the 22 and Troops initiative in partnership with REBOOT Recovery.
“My own football season in 2020 taught me some lessons about resilience, but that hardly compares to what these heroes face and must grapple with when they come home and make their comeback,” McCaffrey said.
22 and Troops was launched out of a desire by McCaffrey to support those who have made the greatest sacrifices and need help to address what happens when the uniform comes off, and these heroes come home. With more than 22 veterans dying by suicide every day, these families simply cannot wait.
“With 22 and Troops, we can show our service men and women and their families that we are their community, here to support them. And together with REBOOT, we can offer tools and assistance from others who have walked through this trauma themselves.” McCaffrey said. “I have always planned to get involved on the medical side of it for troops who come home and to make sure their healthcare is top of the line. I get treated every day, and our service men and women deserve the same kind of care when they get back. They deserve a good life when they come back.”
The finalist for the 11th annual “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA” award are scheduled to be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors awards show, which is set to air the week of Super Bowl.
Past recipients of the award include Steve Cannon (2021), Dan Quinn (2020), Donnie Edwards (2019), Ben Garland (2018), Andre Roberts (2017), Dan Quinn (2016), Vincent Jackson (2015), Jared Allen (2014), John Harbaugh (2013), Charles Tillman (2012), and the late Tennessee Titans owner, K.S. “Bud” Adams, a WWII veteran (2011), according to a news release.
To read the team’s award nomination bio, click here.