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Bucs Kick Off Military Appreciation Week

Posted Nov 7, 2013

More than a dozen Buccaneer players visited the US Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and Bay Pines VA Hospital on Tuesday to honor local servicemen and women at the beginning of Military Appreciation Week

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Johnthan Banks and Mike Glennon led a large group of Buc rookies on a pair of military appreciation visits Tuesday
  • At the US Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, the players explored a variety of search and rescue vessels
  • A week of similar efforts leads up to the Military Appreciation Game on Monday night at Raymond James Stadium
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and USAA kicked off their “Salute to Service Week” on Tuesday with a pair of military appreciation events to honor those who serve in the nation's armed forces.

Cornerback Johnthan Banks, quarterback Mike Glennon, running back Mike James and the rest of the Buccaneers' 2013 rookie class, along with Buccaneers Cheerleaders, began the day by visiting the US Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg to greet hundreds of local U.S. Coast Guard members as part of a Salute to Service lunch.

After receiving a brief tour of the base, during which they explored a variety of coast guard vessels used for search and rescue missions, the Buccaneer visitors enjoyed a barbecue luncheon in conjunction with USAA.

Last year, the Buccaneers announced the addition of USAA – a leading insurance provider to the military community – as an "Official Military Appreciation Sponsor" of the team. USAA became the first-ever such sponsor of the NFL in 2011, and, this season, they're continuing to join forces with the Buccaneers through activities in the Bay Area.

“USAA loves to host this kind of thing for people,” said John Elifson, USAA claims director and Coast Guard veteran. “Our job is to work with service people, and we enjoy getting out and meeting people at various bases, including this one.  When I was here and we had opportunities to step away from the desk or step away from our boats or whatever it is that we do, to have some food to mingle with some celebrities was always a great time.”

-- Buccaneer rookies showed their appreciation to local members of the military
Next, the Buccaneer group headed to Bay Pines VA Hospital to greet U.S. service members recovering from injury and illness. The veterans of Bay Pines enjoyed autograph signings and photos with the players, who were grateful for the opportunity to show their appreciation.

“It’s really rewarding,” said quarterback Mike Glennon. “Their sacrifices have allowed us, as football players, to do what we love to do for a living, so it’s just really nice to be able to come out here and hang out with them for a few hours.”

Tuesday’s events were just the beginning to a week full of military appreciation efforts, including the second annual Buccaneers Military Resource Fair at Raymond James Stadium, taking place Thursday morning at Raymond James Stadium.

All events lead up to the nationally-televised Monday Night Football Game on Veteran’s Day, November 11, when the Buccaneers host the Miami Dolphins. The team will honor current and former military members throughout the evening, including an engaging card stunt and a special “Hero of the Game.”

“They sacrifice a lot of things, a lot of effort to protect our country”, said tight end Tim Wright. “I feel like it’s a reward to go out there and allow them to enjoy the entertainment that we’re giving them, allow them to see the familiar faces that come through here and put a smile on their faces.”

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