As Christmas approaches and families connect for the holidays, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are continuing the tradition of honoring the military and recognizing local families who have made special sacrifices for our country.
This week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers presented the sixth annual General H Norman Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year Awards, in coordination with Central Florida USO, to honor active-duty service members and their families. The award presentation – traditionally an event hosted at the AdventHealth Training Center – was coordinated through a series of socially-distanced home visits with mascot Captain Fear, Buccaneers Cheerleaders and the Buccaneers Street Team RV to present one local family from different six branches of the military with a bundle of gifts to thank them for their sacrifices. This year's award recipients were:
· Technical Sergeant Nestor Flores-Negron and family (Air Force)
· Staff Sergeant Ulisses Bautista and family (Army)
· Aviation Survival Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer Philip Ornot and family (Coast Guard)
· Gunnery Sergeant Jesse Raus and family (Marine Corps)
· Staff Sergeant Travis Ugarte and family (National Guard/Reserves)
· Chief Petty Officer Joel Carter and family (Navy)
The acknowledgement included a special message from Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, 2020 USAA Salute to Service Award Nominee center Ryan Jensen, and Brenda and Cindy Schwarzkopf, wife and daughter of the late General H Norman Schwarzkopf.
"It's an honor to congratulate you on being named a winner of our 2020 General H Norman Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year Award," said Glazer Kassewitz. "Our Armed Forces are the foundation on which much of our community is built, and just like this region wouldn't have this identity were it not for such an impressive military presence, our service members wouldn't operate at their best without a strong family unit on the home front."
"Coming from a military family myself, I have the utmost respect for your commitment to our country and for the many sacrifices that are made, day-in and day-out, by the entire family," said Jensen.
Added Brenda Schwarzkopf: "I speak for my husband when I say, 'Job well done and thank you for your service.'"
Honorees were nominated online and selected by USO Central Florida for demonstrating the values of integrity, courage, commitment and service before self while sharing in the sacrifices for our country. This year's award recipients exemplified dedication to their careers and communities, including carrying out life-saving missions, launching a non-profit to support homeless veterans and displaced youth, and providing mentorship to other military families.
Each family was presented with a commemorative trophy, a military challenge coin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers gear, gift cards from Lowe's and PDQ, and a two-night stay at Tradewinds Island Grand Resort.
The Buccaneers have a long, proud history of supporting the men and women who served or continue to serve our country. Highlights include a special "military day" at training camp where service members enjoy an exclusive experience at practice and gameday recognitions such as the Hero of the Game, presented by Saint Leo University and the Buccaneers Salute to Service Suite supported by Jabil. For more information on the Buccaneers' military support, visit Buccaneers.com/community.