Players on the New England Patriots weren't able to celebrate Veterans Day stateside this year, with an international game being played in Germany for Week 10.
Still, they found plenty of ways to celebrate and give back.
The Patriots Foundation hosted non-profit organization Operation Shower at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, also joining forces with PepsiCo, to provide a day of joy for 30 military moms and moms-to-be.
"A sincere thank you for your service. Thank you for what you're doing, and congratulations," Patriots long snapper and United States Navy Reserve Lieutenant Joe Cardona said while addressing the crowd at the event.
"I know my teammates would want to say the same. We appreciate you guys, thank you for coming out, and I hope you have a great experience here at Gillette. We're proud to support you."
Commander Billie Farrell of the USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned naval warship still afloat, was in attendance for the special occasion, where women received gifts, played games, and were served lunch.
Most of the women invited were spouses of active duty or deployed members of local military bases, though some were active duty service members themself.
Coming from a military himself, Deatrich Wise Jr. empathizes with their experience of navigating pregnancy and raising a new child alone.
"I came down here to just put some smiles on faces," Wise Jr. said.
"I know some of them have husbands who are active duty in the military and they can't be around. I know how hard it is to go through a pregnancy alone because when my wife was pregnant I was in season and going through training camp. She was going through it by herself, and I was just gone for hours. They're gone for months."
Nonprofit Operation Shower joined PepsiCo and the Patriots Foundation to provide a day of joy by hosting a group baby shower for military moms and moms-to-be on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The moms are the spouses of active duty or deployed members of local military bases, and in some cases, are active duty themselves. Patriots players Joe Cardona, Deatrich Wise, David Andrews, Azizi Hearn, Lawrence Guy, and Calvin Munson also made an appearance.
More from Salute To Service Month:
The Patriots Foundation has been giving back to service members since last week.
On Sat. Nov. 4, five TAPS families of fallen heroes attended a dinner at Gillette Stadium before being honored at Sunday's game against the Washington Commanders.
The following Tuesday, Cardona visited Milton Middle School for their Veterans Day Breakfast to talk about his experience in the military. Meanwhile, players including Cole Strange, Jahlani Tavai, Bryce Barringer, and Shaun Wade joined Patriots alumni Rick Cash and Dante Scarnecchia for a pickleball tournament with 60 members of the Massachusetts National Guard.
Service members of the Massachusetts National Guard played pickleball with current and former Patriots players as part of Salute to Service month at the Kingsbury Club in Medfield on Tuesday, Nov. 7. The service members were joined by Shaun Wade, Bryce Baringer, Chad Ryland, Cole Strange, Myles Bryant, Jahlani Tavai, Azizi Hearn, Will Bradley-King, Breon Borders, Dante Scarnecchia, Rick Cash and Pat Patriot.
In partnership with Cross Insurance and Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, the Patriots Foundation and Gillette Stadium hosted a memorial called Boots on the Ground for Heroes on Nov. 10 featuring 7,026 boots on the field, each representing a U.S. service member who was killed in the Global War on Terror post 9/11.
While overseas in Germany, the Patriots Cheerleaders, Pat Patriot, and Vince Wilfork visited the Ramstein Air Base just south of Frankfurt to greet troops stationed out there for Veterans Day, and on Tuesday of this week, Josh Kraft, president of the New England Patriots, visited the New England Center and Home for Veterans in Boston to donate more than 1,000 canned goods to the cause.
On Veterans day the Patriots Cheerleaders, Pat Patriot and Vince Wilfork visited Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
Tying everything in on Salute To Service Month, police officers from cities and towns across Massachusetts and Rhode Island drove to Gillette Stadium on Thursday to pick up buckets filled with coats, snacks, and other essential items to distribute to homeless veterans.
The Patriots Foundation invited police officers from cities and towns across Massachusetts and Rhode Island to drive to Gillette Stadium to pick up buckets filled with a coat, snacks, and other essential items to be delivered to areas in the state where there is a high need homeless veteran population on Thursday, Nov. 16. Volunteers were joined by Robert Kraft and Josh Kraft to help distribute 5,000 buckets to the officers.