Peyton Manning Joins USO Tour; Visits Deployed Troops Aboard Naval Aircraft Carrier


January 24, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; AFC quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos (18) signs autographs for fans during practice for the 2013 Pro Bowl at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos fans found out what Indianapolis Colts fans already knew, Peyton Manning is just as much a leader off the field as he is on the field. Along with several great quarterbacks (past and present) Manning’s resume is just as extensive as it is impressive. I am sure he could retire today and still feel very accomplished, but that of course is only considering his accomplished football career thus far. Lucky for us, Manning isn’t showing any signs of letting up on his leadership and support both on and off the field.

Along with a plethora of professional athletes and distinguished guests, last week Peyton Manning participated in his first of what will hopefully be many, USO Tour. The tour included visits to six nations, including a stop in Europe to board the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). His visit to our country’s military men and women, including our wounded heroes truly moved Peyton. “It’s a pleasure to be here and I just can’t thank you guys enough for what you do to protect our country. It truly makes me proud to be an American.” Manning said aboard the Stennis on March 1. During his tour, he answered questions, signed autographs, posed for pictures, and even threw autographed footballs into the crowds.

Many of us have family members currently serving in our military today. What these men and women do each and every day to defend our country is truly priceless. It is because of their service, Americans have the freedoms and rights that we do— including our professional sports. One certainly one cannot possibly compare the military to playing football, but that does not mean that Peyton Manning can’t identify with the attributes of accountability and teamwork with our military men and women.

“The one thing that has always motivated me playing football is being accountable to my teammates. What’s really driven me for the past 16 years playing football is being accountable, doing my job at the very best that I can to be accountable to help my teammates. I know that’s exactly what you believe in, as it’s really what the military is all about.” – Peyton Manning (USO Tour, March 2013).

Thank you to the men and women who have served and are currently serving in all branches of our military. As I mentioned, many of us have family currently deployed and I am personally proud to say that my nephew, Tyler Kraus, is serving in our Navy and was aboard the USS John C. Stennis during the USO visit.

Most of us will never have the opportunity to travel to our military members stationed abroad to thank and support them. We are not just fans of the sport, but fans of those that protect our right to be able to enjoy the sport. So whether it is in a store, airplane, or during a Denver Broncos game in Mile High Stadium; if you see a veteran or a uniformed soldier, take the time to thank them for their service to our country.

God Bless our troops and Go Broncos!

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