September 25, 2023

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Ryan Jensen Salute to Service: Part 3

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Ryan Jensen (66) Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers veteran center Ryan Jensen has been nominated for a third consecutive Salute to Service Award for his outstanding contributions to numerous military support organizations. He is known for his fiery scarlet locks and the passion and intensity that he brings to the game of Football —the same is what he brings in his contributions to various military support organizations.

Jensen has many family ties to the military. His grandfather, Keith Palmer Sr., served in the Army’s 101st Airborne in Vietnam and Korea and earned a Bronze Star for Valor when he stormed an enemy position, destroying a machine gun nest with light artillery. The heroic action of Keith Palmer saved the lives of numerous people. Jensens’ uncle, also named Keith Palmer, served in the US Marines, and his brother Alec Hatfield served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alec’s military service brought with it a close encounter that required him to take another person’s life, which dramatically changed his life and brought about a personal awareness of PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder). His brother-in-law, Levi Dufford, also served. He was a USMC and is currently leading a Wildland firefighting brigade out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Furthering Jensen’s involvement with military initiatives was the meeting of 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. 

For more information, visit NFL Salute to Service.

Finalists will be announced in January, and the recipient recognized at NFL Honors primetime awards special to be aired during Super Bowl LVI weekend. 

*Special thanks to Dean Jensen for providing the content in 2019.

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