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Ron Rivera named Salute to Service finalist

Posted Jan 18, 2018

Head coach among three finalists for annual award that will be presented during "NFL Honors" on the eve of the Super Bowl.

Head coach Ron Rivera is one of three finalists for the seventh annual Salute to Service presented by USAA.

The winner will be announced during NFL Honors, a two-hour awards special to air on NBC on February 3 at 9 p.m., the eve of Super Bowl LII. Falcons wide receiver Andre Roberts and former Titans head coach Mike Mularkey are the other finalists.

Rivera has worked with many military nonprofit organizations through the years.

From USO of North Carolina President and retired Lieutenant Colonel John Falkenbury: "While the Carolina Panthers are the ‘Gold Standard’ for supporting our military and their families, it is Coach Rivera who sets the tone and leads by an example that permeates through the entire team and management. Throughout the year, Coach Rivera dedicates personal and team time to honor our military by inviting and meeting with them at training camp, Military Furlough Weekends during the season, or traveling to area military bases on his own time to quietly meet with our Warriors and their families.

"Team Rivera – Ron and Stephanie – personally donate funds to support USO of NC's critical mission and help get participants involved in area events, such as the ‘Fore the Troops’ golf event. When a Special Forces Soldier was tragically killed in action, leaving a wife and several children behind, Coach Rivera personally donated to help the family buy a car that the fallen Warrior had planned to do upon his return. Coach Rivera, the son of an Army Warrant Officer, knows first-hand the challenges our military men and women face, as well as their families on a daily basis. His commitment to them is unswerving, passionate and uplifting."

From Blake Bourne, retired Army Captain and Executive Director for Veteran Bridge Home: "Coach Rivera was the keynote speaker for the 'Lunch and Lead with Coach Rivera' luncheon on May 9th, 2017, hosted by Veterans Bridge Home (VBH) (formerly known as Charlotte Bridge Home). Coach Rivera is a strong advocate for supporting Veterans. Coach Rivera spoke about how growing up in a military family helped shape his leadership style as a coach. He also spoke about the ways that he encourages his players to support the military and our Veterans, on and off the field.

"Thanks to Coach Rivera's support, the luncheon raised more than $57,000 to support Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. In addition to this event, VBH hosted quarterly Veteran networking coffees at the Panthers stadium in 2016 and early 2017. Coach Rivera came to everyone and participated in Q&As. VBH is just one of many active military and Veteran nonprofits that Coach Rivera supports. Coach Rivera is always going above and beyond the call of duty to support VBH in whatever way he can. VBH and our Veterans are grateful for Coach Rivera's support for our mission and our communities Veterans."

USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient's honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The award recipient will receive a specially designed military challenge coin, recognizing their commitment to the military. In what has become a long-standing tradition, challenge coins are presented to members of the military community to encourage excellence, boost morale or to recognize a fellow brother- or sister-in-arms.

Last October, NFL teams nominated coaches, active and retired players, team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community. These nominees were announced in November and the submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges, including last year's award recipient, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.