SF 49ers John Lynch nominated for 2020 ‘Salute to Service’ award
By Peter Panacy
SF 49ers general manager John Lynch received a high honor, nominated for the 2020 ‘Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.’
The SF 49ers haven’t been strangers to both recognizing our US Military service members and giving back to both them and their families, particularly in times of need.
Case in point, center Ben Garland, a captain in the Colorado Air National Guard, recently teamed up with USAA to provide care packages for military members as they battle the global COVID-19 pandemic. Even more recently, tight end George Kittle made it a point to help recognize military members individually, offering up the opportunity to play video games with him as well as receiving other fantastic prizes.
One of USAA’s most special ways to recognize players and personnel offering up their thanks and support to the military is through its Salute to Service program, which is a “year-round effort to Honor, Empower, and Connect our nation’s service members, veterans, and their families.”
Each team can nominate one of its own to receive this prestigious award. Garland received the award in 2018, while former Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh was its recipient back in 2013.
And for 2020, the SF 49ers have chosen to nominate their general manager, John Lynch.
From the NFL.com press release:
"Lynch has a longstanding appreciation for the United States military. Both his grandfather and great uncle volunteered for the Army the day after the deadly attacks on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Since 1998, Lynch has frequented various Air Force bases and military hospitals to personally thank those serving in the military, in Florida, Maryland and Colorado – Lynch was also the recipient of the 2006 Bart Starr Award. Every year since 2011, he has hosted military families at the annual Lynch Christmas Party and each holiday season with the 49ers, he hosts military families and underserved youth for a holiday party and practice visit. In 2018 and 2019, Lynch welcomed more than 250 active duty troops and veterans for a VIP training camp practice experience. In November 2017, Lynch spearheaded a visit to the USO office at the San Jose Military Entrance Processing Station to congratulate newly enlisted recruits heading off to basic training. In October 2019, Lynch welcomed a group of decorated veterans, including 5 purple hearts, when the 49ers played in D.C. Lynch’s commitment to supporting veteran organizations like USO Bay Area, has driven a close partnership with the nonprofit and the 49ers that has led to new opportunities to support their troops and families with game tickets, Salute to Service program involvement, choosing USO Bay Area as the 50/50 raffle beneficiary for the 2019 Salute to Service game, and delivering care kits to isolated troops in partnership with USAA during COVID-19."
Lynch’s efforts have no doubt made a difference, both in the Northern California military community and throughout the country.
And it’s great to see Lynch getting recognized for his efforts. But it’s more important to recognize those members of our military, and not just on Veterans Day, for all they do to keep the nation safe and secure.
A year ago, former Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards, a personal friend of this writer, received the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA for his involvement with the Best Defensive Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing veterans back to the battlefields where they fought.
This year, Lynch and the SF 49ers could receive the honor, which will be announced in January 2021 at the annual NFL Honors awards ceremony.
For more information on USAA’s involvement with the Salute to Service Award, please visit www.nfl.com/causes/salute.