The Chargers continued to honor and support our country's military active-duty service members, veterans and their families in the lead up to its annual Salute to Service game in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions.
Here is a recap of some of the events hosted by the Chargers in support of the military community leading up to gameday:
Fox Named Chargers Salute to Service Award Nominee
For a second consecutive year, defensive lineman Morgan Fox was named the Chargers nominee for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.
Fox, who has three generations of family members who have served in the military, has a deep-rooted connection to military members and Veterans far beyond the football field, and got to experience first-hand what it was like to be around people in the military.
Giving back to the community who helped raise him is important for Fox.
"It's really cool, just being recognized for helping a community," Fox said about being nominated. "It's cool to be recognized by your peers about it. But, and I said it last year, that's not really why you do it. You just want to give back to the people that helped raise me and helped get me in this position.
"It's an awesome honor and I'm really just more proud about being able to help this community than the award itself," Fox added.
Fox has worked closely with the Wounded Warrior Project and also has been able to give game tickets to veterans, sign items to help fundraisers and bring more awareness to other organizations through the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative.
The Bolts defensive lineman also surprised a Gold Star Family – an immediate family member (or members) of a fallen service member – with a visit and extended an invitation to watch the Week 10 home game from the American Airlines Seats for Heroes luxury suite. In addition to the Gold Star Family, there were 40 wounded service members from USO San Diego and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in the suite as well.
It's all a part of the ongoing support Fox has showed towards Veterans and the military throughout his playing career thus far, and something he will continue to do even after his playing career is over.
"Just being around guys who know what it's like to struggle, what it's like to have to strain to get through things, seeing the things they've gone through has definitely helped put into perspective what's really hard and what's not," Fox said.
Fox later added: "You never know what someone might need and who's needs might be covered by a significant organization. Just really trying to bring awareness to all the other people who are out there actually helping and doing what they need to do to help bring veterans the help that they need."
Fans are able to vote for their favorite nominee, which will help determine the award's three finalists. To see all the nominees and vote, fans can visit NFL.com/SaluteFanVote from now until November 30. One vote per day, per fan is permitted.
The finalists of the award will be announced in January, and the recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special in February during the week of Super Bowl LVIII.
Bolts Host T.A.P.S. Families at Practice, Topgolf
Chargers hosted a couple of special events with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families.
Five TAPS families were greeted at the Hoag Performance Center last Friday as they got a tour of the Bolts facility.
Following Chargers practice, the families were taken onto the field where they had an opportunity to meet and get autographs from Chargers coaches and players as they were coming off the field.
"Many of these families are Chargers fans or their fallen hero was a fan, so it was really special to be able to bring them to the facility and meet the players that will be honoring their fallen hero," Chargers Impact Fund Manager Taylor Chavez said.
The meet-and-greet was one of several visits arranged for non-profit military outreach organizations through the Boots & Bolts program, which is sponsored by American Airlines.
And the events continued the next day, as those families were treated to an all-inclusive day at Topgolf in El Segundo.
It was a fun event for these families, as it was a first time experience for some.
"The families absolutely enjoyed the day at Topgolf," Chavez said about the event. "It was some of the families first time going to Topgolf and they enjoyed friendly competition between the groups."
Events like these are important for the team, not only in the lead up to the Salute to Service game, but all year round, as they are ways to create memories and show appreciation for veterans and their families.
"[Former Chargers Owner] Alex Spanos served during WWII as a B-29 tail gunner in the Army Air Forces, so for us it extremely important that we honor our military members, veterans, and fallen heroes not only during Salute to Service month, but throughout the year," Chavez said. "These events create long lasting memories and provide moments for military, veterans, and families to take a break from their daily lives for a few hours and embrace our appreciation for all that they have done for us to be here."
The Chargers and American Airlines host T.A.P.S. Families for a special family fun day at Topgolf in El Segundo in the lead up to the Bolts annual Salute to Services game.
Bolts Renovate Vet Center
The Chargers, in partnership with American Airlines, collaborated to renovate the Welcome Center at U.S. Vets in Long Beach, which provides essential services to veterans and gives them a place to both have a meal and bring them the benefits they need.
Chargers staff members and American Airlines volunteers teamed up for the renovation as the center received new furniture plus hygiene kits for its residents that were all assembled by the volunteers. The team held the grand re-opening of the center earlier this week.
The combined efforts were enormous, said Pedro Jauregui, the National Director of Outreach for the United States Veterans Initiative.
"Having the Chargers and American Airlines come out and be part of what we're doing just expresses, not only to the staff, but to our veterans that were serving that the community, those that are out there that they may not even think about them to believe that people think about them, that people love them, people appreciate their service," Jauregui said.
Jauregui added: "And the Chargers being one of the first ones, American Airlines standing in the gap to say, 'Hey, we are one of the first ones that believe these services are for you and that you don't need to be on the streets no more'."
The center had not been remodeled in several years and would often time get crowded or didn't have the things that they needed. It will serve a big role providing many essential services for veterans to help get them back into their life and feel comfortable.
"This project is important because when the veterans come in from the streets, they are actually welcomed into a larger space," Chavez said. "They were crammed into a small building that didn't have the appropriate items that they needed or give them the space to feel welcomed, they just felt overwhelmed.
"This space is a lot calming for them and gives them a sense of hope," Chavez added.
Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker was among those on hand at the grand re-opening of the center as he spent time with veterans.
Events like these are important to Dicker, as he continues to honor and try to help those who served.
"It's important to me to do work that supports the military, just show back and just make them feel loved because I think it's a lonely thing unless you're inside that community because other people don't see it as much," Dicker said. "And so having the opportunity to show them that we support them and love what they've done for us is great."
The Chargers decades-long commitment to honoring and supporting our country's military heroes, past and present, continued as the organization expressed its gratitude for the sacrifices of active-duty service members, veterans and their families during its annual Salute to Service game against Detroit in Week 10, 2023
Secure your Chargers Mini Plan today! Click here to learn more.