Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen has once again been nominated for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award, the team announced Friday.
This is the fourth year in a row that Jensen has been the Bucs’ nominee for the honor, which “recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff and alumni who demonstrate commitment to honoring and supporting military and veteran communities, as nominated by NFL clubs,” per the club’s official release.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated for this award once again,” said Jensen. “I have such great respect and admiration for all of our brave service members and all of the branches of our military. We’re afforded the liberties we have because of the courageous members of our armed forces, and I’m incredibly grateful to be able to receive this recognition on behalf of them.”
Jensen has been involved in serving the military community in various ways:
In his Salute to Service efforts, Jensen prioritizes relationships, outreach programs and gameday initiatives. Jensen’s grandfather, Keith Palmer, served in Korea and Vietnam as a member of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Jensen’s uncle followed Palmer’s footsteps into the Army, and Jensen’s adopted brother, Alec Hatfield, has served in the Marine Corps and completed tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jensen has donated nearly $100,000 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation for his community ticket program “Jensen’s G.I’s,” which provides memorable gameday experiences for military families. Benefitting organizations have included the USF Veteran Success Center, Wounded Warrior Project, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Liberty Manor for Veterans, USO Central Florida and the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, among others.
Jensen has also worked with the organization Southeastern Guide Dogs to provide a $75,000 donation to sponsor three service dogs that will provide companionship and daily assistance for military service members recovering from injury. Along with this, Jensen also visits local Veteran’s Assistance hospitals and hosts zoom calls to support active-duty military families in an effort to give back to the local military community.
In addition, Jensen has developed a special bond with a young boy named Cooper, whose father was tragically killed in action before Cooper was born. Through the Tragedy Assistant Program for Survivors (TAPS), Jensen has stayed in contact with the family and for several years and honored Cooper and TAPS through the NFL’s annual My Cause, My Cleats initiative, bringing awareness and support to Gold Star Families who are grieving the loss of a member in the armed forces.
Annually, Jensen has supported the Buccaneers’ Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year Awards, which honors military families from each branch of the armed forces. He has also visited MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa through the USO Central Florida, has helped promote fundraising efforts for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and helps lead the team’s support for Military Day at Training Camp.
Fans can vote for their favorite nominee this year, and the winner will be announced at this year’s NFL Honors ceremony leading up to the Super Bowl.