Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen has been nominated for a second consecutive Salute to Service Award for his work with various military support organizations. Jensen has plenty of family ties to the military; his grandfather, Keith Palmer Sr., served in the Army’s 101st Airborne in both Vietnam and Korea. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for storming an enemy position and destroying a machine gun nest with a light artillery weapon. His actions saved numerous lives while putting himself at great peril. He also named Keith Palmer, served in the US Marines. Ryan Jensen’s adopted brother Alec Hatfield, USMC, served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alec was a fixture in the Jensen household and is considered by the family as their third brother or son. Alec’s military service brought with it a close encounter that required him to take a life. That event dramatically affected him and brought a very personal awareness of PTSD and its effects on Ryan Jensen and his family. Additionally, his brother-in-law Levi Dufford also served in the USMC and currently leads a wildland fire-fighting brigade out of Steamboat Springs, CO.
Furthering his calling to get more involved with military initiatives was the meeting of, then, three-year-old Cooper during a tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) while playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Cooper never met his father, who was killed in action but took an immediate shine to Jensen one day at training camp because of their matching hair color. Cooper, who is now nine years old, stays in contact with the Buccaneers center.
Jensen has visited MacDill AirForce base with the team along with various other military programs and also sponsors a community ticket program named “Jensen’s G.I. Joes”, providing military veterans with the chance to see the Bucs play at home.”
Finalists will be announced in January, and the recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 1, 2019, the night before Super Bowl LIV.
The 2019 ‘Salute to Service Award presented by USAA’ nominees truly deserve this moment of recognition for their strong commitment to honor and recognize our military members, veterans, and their families,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) JOHN BIRD, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. “From visiting service members on base at home and abroad, volunteering with veterans service organizations, and helping with veteran hiring programs, this year’s nominees are true examples of how players, coaches, and fans can, through meaningful action, show their deep appreciation for the military community.
For more information visit: NFL Salute to Service
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products, and advice to 13 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for its outstanding service, employee well-being, and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.” – The NFL
*Information provided by the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Special thanks to Dean Jensen for the Exclusive Information. *