The Houston Texans Cheerleaders don’t just brighten up game days at NRG Stadium. They went above and beyond the expectations of the men and women of our country’s armed forces. So much so that they are franchise nominees for the annual Salute to Service award.
The honor recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff and alumni “with a demonstrable commitment to honoring and supporting the military and veteran communities, as nominated by NFL clubs.”
The Houston Texans Cheerleaders have always dedicated their time and talents to honoring the military. Since the franchise’s inception, the Houston Texans Cheerleaders have dedicated their time and talents to honoring service members by supporting United Service Organizations (USO), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Operation Finally Home, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors ( TAPS), Tuesday’s Children and many more.
In 2019, the Texans Cheerleaders traveled overseas with Armed Forces Entertainment, headlining the 10-day Super Bowl Salute to Service Tour. They visited Al Dahfra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, as well as bases in Qatar and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. The tour featured the Texans Cheerleaders as well as four Texas legends who performed 60-minute shows.
The cheerleaders spent time getting to know the service members and hearing their stories, doing base tours, doing simulation drills, playing flag football and sitting down to listen to talk about their friends and family back home.
Supporting female veterans is a cause of particular importance to Texans Cheerleaders. Before the pandemic, Texas cheerleaders and alumni of the program volunteered with the Women of the Armed Forces and Veteran Empowerment (W.A.V.E.) campaign to package and distribute underwear, pajamas and comfort items essential to women receiving treatment in the local Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital.
Other events include visiting the USO Center at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport to deliver meals to service members and volunteers, stepping up the distribution of Thanksgiving turkeys and meals to families at Joint Reserve Base ‘Ellington Field, providing lunches to National Guard and Army Reserve troops returning home, and hosting 120 service members from a nine-month overseas deployment.
New this year is the opportunity for fans to vote for their favorite nominee, which will help determine the three finalists for the award. To see all the nominees and vote, fans can visit NFL.com/SaluteFanVote through Nov. 30. One vote per day and per fan is allowed.
Finalists will be announced in January and the recipient will be recognized during the NFL Honors, a nationally broadcast primetime awards show in February during Super Bowl LVII week.
Last year’s award recipient was Andrew Beck, Denver Broncos Tight End. Beck will serve on the jury that will select the recipient of the 2022 Salute to Service Award once the three finalists are determined by fan voting.
Other panel members include Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate and three-time Super Bowl champion; Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran and former NFL head coach; Lenny Bandy, United States Marine Corps veteran and NFL Vice President of Safety; and Vice Admiral (Retired) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs.