I hope you all had a wonderful and long Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is very special to me because, like most families, mine has very strong ties to the United States Military. I always like to give a special shout out to the Ohio 83rd Infantry Division and the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge (VBOB).
Organizations like the VBOB are very important, yet their membership is dwindling every day with the losses of our aging military heroes. Luckily, anyone can join organizations such as these, and those new memberships are vital to keep them thriving and to help honor the sacrifices that a few have made for the many.
Annual membership to the VBOB is a mere $15, so if you have any interest in joining please check out their website. Membership includes quarterly publications filled with old stories, memories, and the comings and goings of our military veterans.
In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to take a closer look at Ben Garland, an Air Force Academy graduate and current member of our Denver Broncos.
Garland is a defensive lineman who attended Central High School in Grand Junction, Colorado. While at Central, he was a 4-time letterman in football and was named to the All-State team as a senior in the fall of 2005. Garland chose to attend the Air Force Academy and played in 39 games during his college football career where he totaled 115 tackles and 11.5 sacks. As a senior in 2009-2010 he was voted to the second team All-Conference squad and he joined the Denver Broncos as a free agent on April 30th, 2010.
This is where the Garland story takes a unique turn. Due to the fact he graduated from a military academy, Garland owed 5 years to an active duty military commitment. He started as an active duty member in 2010, but opted to turn the remainder of his time into a 6-year reserve commitment. This allowed him to return to the NFL and the Denver Broncos who still owned his rights after they had placed him on the military/reserve list in 2010.
So as we stand today, the 6’-5” and 275 pound Garland is trying to earn a roster spot on the 2012 Broncos. He already has a reputation as a hard worker who puts full effort into every drill, and he will easily become a fan favorite if he can make the team. It’s not going to be hard to get behind a local kid who stayed in state to play college football and is a member of the military. His story is one to follow closely as we get nearer to the start of training camp later this summer.
Not only do I have great respect for Ben Garland as a member of the United States Military, but I find him very easy to cheer for. Hopefully we see him making a big impact on the football field very soon while wearing the Orange and Blue!
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