By Dottie WhiteAugust 22, 2019
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado - More than 50 local service members got a taste of the NFL as the Broncos and USAA teamed up for this year's NFL Boot Camp experience Aug. 21 at the Denver Broncos' University of Colorado Health Training Center Fieldhouse in Englewood.
A six-person team from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command competed against nine other service member teams in a football-themed skills contest that included the 40-yard dash, the three-cone shuttle, the vertical jump, a receiving gauntlet and the quarterback arm challenge.
Team SMDC, which consisted of Maj. Clifton Palmore, Maj. Michael Smith, Capt. Allison Foust, Capt. Bryce Thornton, Staff Sgt. Brandon Vereen, and Spc. Michael Isaac, worked together to take first place in the competition for the second year in a row. The team also took the national record for the highest combined score with a nearly perfect 48 out of 50 points.
Both Smith and Isaac said their favorite event was the receiving gauntlet.
"We practiced for it, so we were well prepared," said Isaac.
"Our team did an amazing job catching all of the balls," Smith added. "Today was a great opportunity to come together as a team to have fun and compete with our sister services. USAA and the Broncos did an amazing job hosting this event. They showed a lot of appreciation for us, and it goes the same way from us to them. They put on an amazing event, and showed a lot of love to us. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I appreciate them."
Command Sgt. Maj. Tracey Rosser, command sergeant major, 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, was also very appreciative.
"I would like to thank USAA and the Denver Broncos for putting this together and supporting the military community. It shows that there is comradery on both sides, military and civilian, and how we can come together to create a phenomenal event," said Rosser.
Foust, who played college soccer, said she enjoyed the experience because it reminded her of why she joined the Army.
"I was almost finished with college when I decided to join the military, and the whole reason I did was because the professor of military science was recruiting athletes," Foust explained. "I thought the military was a natural transition because it's so much like sports. The concept of being on a team and competing together and only being as strong as your weakest player is what appealed to me and drew me into the military life. So this event was an opportunity to come back out and to remember exactly why I wanted to be a part of that. I'm really thankful for USAA and the Broncos for putting this on for us.
Following the competition, the service members were provided lunch, VIP access to watch the Broncos practice, and a meet and greet with Broncos players where they received autographs and photograph opportunities.
Outside Linebacker Von Miller posed for a group photo with the service members and thanked them for their service.
"This event is super important," Miller said. "I feel like sports and military have a lot in common. The only thing is ... when we lose, we go home with that bad attitude. If they lose, somebody loses their life. So I have a huge respect for all of these guys. And it's great to have all of them out here at practice to thank them in person. It's pretty cool for all of us."