By Spc. Drew WilkinsonJanuary 9, 2007
Not only is the U.S. Army All-American Bowl about football players and Soldiers, but is also about the invaluable contributions of the spouses, parents, veterans, and employers who support them.
Freedom Team Salute presented five awards to deserving supporters who showed exemplary support of the Army and the Soldiers during a ceremony on Friday.
"We know, and unquestionably value, the enduring characteristics which make our Soldiers great," said John McLaurin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Man Power Reserve Affairs for Human Resources, "yet even as we recognize their accomplishments, it is important that we recognize the contributions of those who have supported them while they have protected and defended all of us."
Freedom Team Salute has honored almost 1 million spouses, parents, veterans and employers since they began in May 2005.
Bob and Dorothy Bockholt, parents of Capt. Matthew Bockholt, 21st Cavalry Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, were honored because of the strong love and financial base they provided for their son.
Staff Sgt. Jerod Ward nominated his wife Rachel S. Ward for her constant love and support during his enlistment. "If noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the Army then families are the heart," said Ward.
"With the Freedom Team Salute we are trying to build a network of connected people who will become a greater fraternity of the Army," said McLaurin.
The Salute newsletter is sent to all of the people who have been nominated in order to create this network.
Robert G. Davis, President and CEO of United Services Automobile Association, was nominated for his support of the military. USAA was number five of the "Top 50 Most Military Friendly Employers" by G.I. Jobs magazine.
"Our young people today will view its Army by the way we have acknowledged our veterans," said McLaurin, as he quoted George Washington.
The veteran honored at the ceremony for his unwavering support of the Army both during and after his service was Dr. Thomas G. Hardaway, Director of the Texas Children's Choir.
"The recognition of these five deserving individuals whose support for our Soldiers, our Army and our country make it possible for all of us to be 'Army Strong,'" said McLaurin.
To nominate a deserving supporter of the Army for an award, visit the Freedom Team Salute website at www.FreedomTeamSalute.com. Nominations are free and encouraged, and there is no need to be in the military to nominate a deserving veteran.