Skip Dreps, Staff Writer, Northwest Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America
On behalf of the Chapter the following nomination was submitted over the summer:
August 8, 2014
I hereby nominate the Seattle Seahawks organization to be considered for a specific category for the 2nd Annual Abraham Lincoln Award for Service to Veterans.
One of the Seattle Seahawks’ most successful, unifying community tasks has been reconciliation and reintegration of the veteran in the community. It started the day they decided to build their own stadium and make it accessible for the most catastrophically disabled fan, a paralyzed veteran of America (PVA). They invited PVA to be a consultant to the design team to make sure every aspect of the stadium was accessible to people with disabilities.
The Seahawks were nominated by PVA and received Washington Coalition of Citizens with disabilities “White Ribbon” award for outstanding leadership in accessible design for the disabled. Seattle Seahawks’ President, Mr. Paul Allen, accepted the award on behalf of the entire organization. I recall the line he spoke when he accepted the award that echoed another great leader: “It’s about how we treat our veterans and our community every single day of the year” (President Abraham Lincoln).
The Seattle Seahawks express their gratitude for veterans and never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
Here are some of the things they do that demonstrates their core commitment to veterans:
- Major sponsor of Camp Patriot programs for wounded active military and veterans;
- Major sponsor of USO Northwest;
- Visit bases throughout the Pacific Northwest; took Lombardi Trophy to 5 bases this year and visited the VA Puget Sound health Care System;
- Sponsored Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion members and their families to Seahawks games & practices to meet coaches & players;
- Support Hire America’s Heroes by sponsoring and hosting veteran job fairs;
- Sponsor Race for a Soldier;
- Support & visit VA Puget Sound Fisher House;
- Adopted annually a local military organization;
- National Guard partnership with re-integration activities;
- Sponsors Military Appreciation Day every season w/ recognition of members of all branches of military service.
- Provide tickets & pregame sideline access for reenlistment ceremonies;
- Military representative introduced at each home game to stand alongside National Anthem singer & salute US Flag;
- Continuing partnerships with Navy League, Coast Guard Foundation, VFW, American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs;
- Sponsors US Military Sea Hawkers that supported over 1 million, and the most active/veterans recorded votes recorded by The USAA Million Fan Salute 2014 as the favorite military/veteran team;
- Conducts military service recognition ceremonies & football games at CenturyLink Field;
- Supports Operation Home Front;
- Funds National Guard families through the Association of Washington Generals providing $40,000.00 per year for veterans memorials;
- Promotes Seahawk players & Sea Gals visits active duty/veterans in the United States and overseas;
Seahawks donate sports equipment and memorabilia to troops overseas.
The Seahawks organization makes it a priority to hire veterans. Vice President for Community Relations received Washington State’s distinguished honor for his contribution representing the Seahawks in 2012. Attached is a Seattle Times article on another Seahawks veteran employee.
These are just some of the examples how the Seahawks deserve to be recognized with an Abraham Lincoln award for service to veterans as we consider them to be our 12th Man when it comes to supporting our military family in the Great Northwest.