ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos have nominated defensive end Malik Jackson for the NFL Salute to Service Award, presented by USAA, for his extensive work with Colorado military families.
Jackson has partnered with Helping Hands for Freedom to serve as a spokesman for the organization and work together to support military children and families who are thrust into tough situations of deployment, injury or loss.
"We want to raise money for military families to be able to pay bills, pay for necessities—food, water, washer and dryer—things we take for granted sometimes," Jackson said. "They have had hard times, so it's one of those things you're trying to help them do something big."
Jackson, who ranks third on the Broncos' top-ranked defense with 3.5 sacks, has recently teamed up with Helping Hands for Freedom to launch its Lucky 7 for Kids Campaign, which aims to raise money by encouraging 100,000 people to donate $7 to the campaign. All donations will be directed to Helping Hands for Freedoms' four military youth program areas: Life Enrichment, Sports & Education, Life Assistance and the Dream "Chaser" Program.
"I think we can start doing something big, especially during the Salute to Service month [November] with the NFL," Jackson said. "It's just $7 a person. If you can do that, it would be great and go a long way. We're trying to take it to the next level. It's a blessing that the NFL does something like this. It's just something that shows we can give back to these people who have given so much."
Jackson hosted his first youth football camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., for children ages 8-14 in July and teamed up with Helping Hands for Freedom to offer complimentary entry for children of military families. He chose to host his three-day camp in Colorado Springs because of the large population of military families with its proximity to the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson military base.
The Salute to Service Award was created to acknowledge the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support U.S. service members and veterans. The 2015 Salute to Service Award winner will have a $25,000 donation made in his/her name to the Military Aid Societies of each branch of service by USAA. The award's two finalists will be announced during the postseason and the 2015 award recipient will be announced Super Bowl week.
Each of the 32 NFL teams submitted a nominee who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community to be considered for the award. A blue-ribbon panel comprised of former NFL players and coaches who served in the military, NFL and USAA executives will decide the award winner.
For more information about the NFL's Salute to Service Award and the full list of nominees, please visit www.nfl.com/salute.