Ravens Salute the Military


Since John Harbaugh's arrival to Baltimore, his advocacy for the U.S. Military has been endless. Coach Harbaugh, along with many Ravens players and coaches, have visited military installations, including a trip to Iraq, held annual appreciation days, invited military to attend practice and spent significant time and funds sending holiday care packages to soldiers overseas and school supplies to kids of military parents.






The fifth-annual Ravens Military Appreciation Day was held this month during the team's open training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium. "We Salute You" was the theme of the evening, while over 1,500 service members and their families were given preferred seating, t-shirts, patriotic gifts and autograph opportunities. Coach Harbaugh greeted the group before the start of practice and gave thanks for everyone's service and sacrifices. "I just want to thank all the folks from the U.S. Military who were here, the family of J.T. Thompson, just all of our good friends in the military for being here," Harbaugh said. "Thank you for what you do. Freedom is not free, and we can't do what we do without you."

Some special military guests, whom Coach Harbaugh has befriended during his years with the Ravens, got the special opportunity to watch practice from the field. Army Lt. Col. Scott Hooper, who works at the Pentagon, talked about the experience. "I think it's just wonderful. It's really great, the outreach from the Ravens to the military, and John Harbaugh and everything he's done for our soldiers going overseas, visiting us and always being supportive. For the team to do this, open for the public, actually makes it more special for the military. It makes you feel good and appreciated."

The Ravens also hosted wounded warrior groups at training camp practices this season, giving them an exclusive opportunity to watch practice and interact with players and coaches at the Under Armour Performance Center. The groups were comprised of service members from Under Armour's Wounded Warrior Program and those currently undergoing treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The smiles on their faces and laughs shared with coaches and players were proof that lasting memories were being made.

In addition, wounded warrior Tyler Southern joined the Ravens for a unique training camp practice experience. Southern, a marine who was severely injured in Afghanistan, is a triple amputee who continues to exemplify extraordinary optimism and bravery. Sitting on the sideline of the Ravens' indoor field, Tyler was able to watch practice and interact with players. Coach Harbaugh even gave a Ravens welcome to him and his wife at the start of the post-practice press conference.

This past spring, Coach Harbaugh was given the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his endless support to soldiers, families, veterans and all military communities. During the ceremony, Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno spoke about the impact the team and Coach Harbaugh's selfless, outstanding contributions have made. "You have increased morale, inspired leadership and created a mutual sense of respect and appreciation between the U.S. Army and the NFL," Odierno stated.

Year after year, the Ravens continue to display support through long-standing initiatives, and  they look for new ways to show appreciation. Under the leadership of Coach Harbaugh, the team will continue to honor our military throughout the 2012 season.

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