Cleveland Browns to honor service members, veterans and their families during Salute to Service game against Arizona Cardinals (11.3.23)
For Immediate Release
Nov. 3, 2023
The league-wide initiative seeks to honor, empower and connect our nation’s military community
BEREA, Ohio – As part of the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative, the Cleveland Browns will highlight their year-round commitment to local and national military appreciation by honoring active service members, veterans and their families throughout Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. This year’s game is presented by CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM), the official mortgage partner of the Cleveland Browns, which is actively engaged in the team’s tributes to servicemen and servicewomen during Salute to Service and through other military-focused initiatives.
Working closely with United Service Organizations (USO) Ohio and Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT), the team will recognize members of each military branch through the incorporation of various in-stadium gameday elements honoring local heroes. New this year, the Browns will host a ceremony unveiling a permanent POW/ MIA Chair of Honor in section 351 of Cleveland Browns Stadium led by Lieutenant General Douglas M. Gabram of the United States Army. Around the country, Chairs of Honor are placed in arenas, stadiums, town halls and state capitols to commemorate American service men and women who are prisoners of war or missing in action, as they are unable to fill them because of their sacrifices.
Before the game, the Browns will have multiple activations on Dawg Pound Drive to support the “Salute to Service” game theme. USO Ohio will have a Salute to Service branded gaming trailer and Crown Royal will be on-site with purple bag messages for service members. Additionally, the U.S. Navy and Marines will have pull-up bars setup alongside information tables.
To kickoff of the game, members of the U.S. Army will form the tunnel during team introductions. Brigadier General Beth Salisbury, Commanding General of the 807th Medical Command U.S. Army Reserve will serve as the game’s honorary Coin Toss Captain. The national anthem will be performed by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Temos Wooten, complemented by a flyover of the U.S. Army National Guard 1-137th Assault Helicopter Battalion, and the country’s colors will be presented by the Cleveland U.S. Coast Guard. Veterans invited by CCM, Cleveland Browns Stadium Guest Services and season ticket members will also hold the full field American flag during the moment. Members of the U.S. Air force will serve as gate guards.
Throughout the game, members of the U.S. Army will do pushups in both endzones when the Browns score, while Navy and Marine Corps members will celebrate with pull ups. During halftime, the 122nd U.S. Army Band will perform
As has been done at each home game since the national tragedy of 9/11, the team will once again salute individuals who protect the country and the local community through the “Hats Off to Heroes Honor Row”, which recognizes military members, police, firefighters, first responders and other local heroes through Browns Give Back. This week’s moment will feature veterans nominated by USO Ohio. The Browns will also host representatives from USO Ohio at Sunday’s game.
Additionally, the Browns are proud to nominate Player Personnel and Football Operations Process Manager Joy Tapajcik as the team’s 2023 Salute to Service Award honoree, which annually recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and alumni who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community, as selected by NFL clubs. Tapajcik graduated from the Naval Academy with a political science and government bachelor’s degree. Before joining the Browns, she spent almost a decade in Naval Intelligence. Looking to next year, she is working on two different internship initiatives in collaboration with the Northeast, Ohio military community: Soldiers to Sidelines and DOD Skillbridge. Both aim to support service members as they transition out of the military and prepare for civilian work opportunities.
The Browns will continue to show their military appreciation throughout the month of November with Salute to Service programming and events.
Upcoming Salute to Service Events:
- Browns players and staff will support CCM’s Operation Gratitude event by writing notes and stuffing bears for more than 500 care packages on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Operation Gratitude proudly delivers care packages to deployed troops, military children, recruit graduates, veterans and first responders.
- On Tuesday, Nov. 14, in partnership with Elk & Elk and USO Ohio, Browns staff and players will come together to assemble more than 300 care packages that will be distributed to Northeast Ohio servicemembers prior to their deployment.
About Browns Give Back:
The Cleveland Browns are committed to championing youth football, education and social justice in our community and throughout Ohio. Browns Give Back is the Cleveland Browns initiative dedicated to supporting our fans and neighbors. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/community.
About NFL and Salute to Service:
Salute to Service represents the NFL’s unwavering dedication to honoring, empowering, and connecting with our nation’s service members, veterans, and their families. It is grounded in deep partnerships with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United Service Organizations (USO) and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Since 2011, more than $66 million has been raised for these Salute to Service partners.
The NFL extends its appreciation of the military community through special moments of recognition at games and events, as well as visits to military bases both domestically and internationally throughout the year.
About CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC:
CrossCountry Mortgage (CCM) is the nation’s number three retail mortgage lender, with more than 7,000 employees operating nearly 600 branches across all 50 states. Our company has been recognized nine times on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private businesses and has received many awards for our standout culture. We offer more than 120 mortgage, refinance and home equity solutions – ranging from conventional and jumbo mortgages to government-insured programs for Veterans and rural homebuyers – and we are a direct lender and approved seller and servicer by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and Ginnie Mae. Through our dedication to getting it done, we make every mortgage feel like a win. Visit ccm.com.
About USO Ohio:
Since 1941, USO Ohio has served as a private, civilian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that receives no direct government funding but relies solely on the generosity of corporations, organizations and the American people. USO Ohio touches the lives of nearly 50,000 active duty, guard and reserve military and their families throughout the 31-county region. For more than 75 years, USO Ohio has provided morale, recreation and social services to US Armed Forces personnel and their families through its programs and services. USONO Center facilities are located in the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), Cleveland Hopkins Airport, the NOSC in Toledo, Youngstown Air Reserve Station and care package processing center in Warren. The network of hundreds of volunteers donates nearly 20,000 hours of service annually in honor of these brave men and women.
The Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization created to honor patriots who serve, or have served, in the armed forces. NEOPAT’s work is vital to keeping the promise to foster growth for our military community through our mission to promote patriotism, support veterans and military families and remember those that have gone before us. Learn more at www.neopat.org.
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