Redskins Salute offers more than fun to servicemembers
July 11, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (July 10, 2014) - Servicemembers in the National Capital Region can meet players, attend games, receive educational assistance and job search support through the Washington Redskins' "Redskins Salute" appreciation club.
Launched in partnership with the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, Redskins Salute is free and open to active-duty servicemembers, National Guard and Reserve, veterans and retirees, as well as their Family members. Members will have access to the club's free events, exclusive content and support programs for education, Family services, health and wellness and post military-service job creation.
"We've had a long-term relationship with the Redskins," said Elaine Rodgers, USO Metro, president. "This program is formalizing this incredible relationship. The metropolitan area has so many active-duty personnel and veterans who live here. This program is something they can sign up for and get something at no cost and have a great football experience."
The club is the Redskins' attempt to amplify their decade-long military appreciation initiatives into one comprehensive, year-round platform, according to Shirpal Shah, Washington Redskins senior vice president and chief strategy officer.
"We met with Daniel Snyder about our plan for 2014 and he said, 'How can we raise the level of what we are doing and set a new bar in the NFL for military appreciation?'" said Shah. "He said, 'Why don't we create a true year round platform where military appreciation events and activities aren't just limited from training camp through the season.' (Snyder) wants to create a free community where the men and women of our armed services can get to know one another."
To assist servicemembers with enhancing their education, Redskins Salute started a scholarship program with Kaplan University where servicemembers can receive one full scholarship and up to 30 partial scholarships covering more than half of tuition costs.
"In addition to the scholarship program, Kaplan University also provides significant tuition reduction, up to 55 percent for active duty, Reserve and Guard members in undergraduate programs," said Scott McCall, Redskins Salute, marketing manager. "Also, college credit may be awarded for military training, military occupation, or prior coursework, which can shorten the path to a degree."
As far as health and wellness, the Redskins are talking to their partners about events at the teams' practice facility where servicemembers can participate in a free fitness activity, plus receive nutrition advice, said Shah.
"They can come and do a Zumba session and after the workout have refreshments in the team kitchen and meet the team nutritionist and chief," said Shah. "They can learn about what they do to keep the players healthy."
The club recently conducted a job fair at FedEx Field where 72 companies attended and spoke with servicemembers about future employment opportunities. Club members should expect more job fairs, but the Redskins are talking to Recruit Military about how they can create more online content to help servicemembers find jobs, according to Shah.
"We want to have weekly features that help servicemembers with different aspects of job searching like interview skills and how to adjust their resume."
USO Metro took 150 servicemembers to an organized team activity with the Redskins May 29. The success of the day has Rodgers excited for the future of the club.
"Robert Griffin III spent an hour and a half after the event was over to make sure he met everyone that was there," said Rodgers. "It was an incredible day, and there's going to be opportunities like this moving forward."
The fact that the mission of Redskins Salute goes along with the mission of USO Metro is another reason Rodgers is excited.
"This program really fits within the mission of the USO," said Rodgers, "Which is bringing fun experiences to our military and being able to say to the military that we appreciate their service and their Families service."