Denver Broncos Mile High Salute to Service


Guard Ben Garland is Broncos nominee for Salute to Service Award

Military appreciation is huge.

It’s our way of saying “Thank you” to the men and women who put forth the ultimate sacrifice. Who fight to keep our country free and protect what makes it so great.

The NFL and its 32 teams are at the head of the pack in that regard.

The Denver Broncos are no different.

USAA and the Broncos have partnered in a way for fans to show their appreciation.

You can do that with the eye-black that says “Thank You” “Military,” take a picture with it on and share your photo by using #SaluteToService and tag @USAA. You can view photos and messages of thanks at

The mission of USAA is to show appreciation for the military, veterans and their families. With the help of the Broncos and Broncos Country, this is how.

Let’s do our part.

For those who will go to the game against the Miami Dolphins today at Mile High, there is a fly over prior to kickoff. Four F-16 fighter jets will depart from Buckley Air Force Base and give those in attendance the chills of their life. There is nothing like a fly over. So get to your seats in enough time and prepare yourself.

Jul 24, 2014; Dove Valley, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Michael Schofield (79) and guard Ben Garland (63) during training camp activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Garland Salute to Service Award

Ben Garland is the Broncos nominee for the Salute to Service award, presented by USAA. Garland was nominated by the Broncos for his military appreciation efforts.

Garland grew up in Colorado and played college football at the Air Force Academy. He was sworn into the Colorado Air National Guard on May 31, 2012, where he currently works as a public affairs officer and was promoted to the rank of captain.

Garland, in conjunction with the Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense, has worked through the “Palace Chase” program to transition into the reserve and hold a civilian job after two years of active service, allowing him to pursue his NFL dream.

“I always wanted to be an Air Force officer,” Garland said. “But I always dreamed of playing in the NFL. It was like weighing one dream against the other. I’m happy with my decision.”

He joined the Broncos for the 2010 preseason before spending 2010-11 on Denver’s reserve/military list while fulfilling his obligations to the Air Force Academy. Garland spent the 2012 and ’13 seasons on the club’s practice squad and is in his first season on the team’s active roster.

In addition, his continuous efforts to answer mail from servicemen and women and increase support and awareness for military efforts through social media and more, he spent time visiting with participants in the team’s USAA Military Combine at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in August, and recently recorded a message for the participants competing in the Warrior Games this month.

Last season he visited Fort Carson to meet with soldiers — presenting them with game balls, eating lunch with them and learning more about their day-to-day duties and lives.

As Broncos Country will attest, it’s an honor to have Garland in the orange and blue.

Background on Salute to Service Award

Finalists for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA will be announced in January, and the winner will be recognized at the “4th Annual NFL Honors” awards show on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 31, in Arizona the night before Super Bowl XLIX.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was last year’s award winner. USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, contributed $25,000 in his honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches.  Harbaugh will serve on the award panel and vote for this year’s winner.

Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was the 2012 winner, and the inaugural winner in 2011 was the late-Tennessee Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, a World War II veteran.