(March 28, 2007) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will become the first sports team in Florida to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Army in recognition of the longstanding relationship between the Buccaneers and America's military units.
Media is invited to attend the award presentation at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday, March 29, 2007, at 12:15 p.m.
Colonel Nelson McCouch, Chief of the Community Relations Division of the office of the Chief of Public Affairs for the Army at the Pentagon, will visit Buccaneers headquarters to present a Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service to QB Chris Simms and the team's Chief Operating Officer, Eric Land.
"No other organization deserves this more than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of their support of the military, especially the Army, and veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom," said Sergeant Major Stephen Valley of the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs in Bradenton.
According to the Army, this citation is an honorary award granted to a civilian group in recognition of voluntary involvement that contributes to the mission of an Army activity or staff agency.
The Buccaneers partner with the U.S. armed forces in many community activities and created several joint military programs, including Operation Secret Santa, which reunites military personnel with their loved ones during the holiday season via a special satellite and Internet connection.
General Manager Bruce Allen and WR Joey Galloway both sponsor ticket programs that benefit MacDill Air Force Base personnel and their families by providing special guests with front row seats for each home game. In 2006, the Buccaneers held a preseason practice at MacDill's athletic field for those stationed at the base.
Each November, the Buccaneers commemorate Veterans' Day with "Military Appreciation Day," a variety of military tributes and personnel elements during the gameday presentation.
Last year, Buccaneers players Galloway, G/C Sean Mahan, DE Dewayne White and C John Wade visited James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa to celebrate Veteran's Day with local heroes who fought to protect America. Players have also explored Navy ships and flown in military jets as part of visits with the troops.
Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders went overseas to visit military bases across the Pacific as part of the Air Forces Entertainment Tour to bring Buccaneers spirit to those serving our country. In February, Buccaneers LB Shelton Quarles embarked on a 10-day USO Tour to the Persian Gulf to thank members of the armed forces for their service to our country.