FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – This summer, the Falcons will be the only NFL team to conduct their own USO tour, traveling to Iraq to visit with active duty members at three military bases.
Head coach Dan Quinn will be among a Falcons contingent making the trip, joining kicker Matt Bryant, guard Ben Garland and center Alex Mack. In anticipation for the trip, Quinn shared what he's expecting from the experience.
"Well, number one, I'm expecting from my own side, a ton of gratitude," Quinn said after Wednesday's Minicamp Built by The Home Depot practice. "I'm hopeful that I get to meet as many men and women service members as I can in a short amount of time. Just to let them know how much not only I appreciate them but our team does and for us to share some ideas and some stories from leadership and from teamwork. And just straight-old, good-old-fashioned lock-your-jaw hard work."
The Falcons have been very active in supporting the armed forces. In 2017, the team conducted more than 25 military community events such as working with more than 100 Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) families. Quinn won the league's Salute to Service Award in 2016 and Garland, the Falcons' 2017 Man of the Year was a graduate of the Air Force Academy and currently serves in the Colorado Air National Guard.
"There's a number of service men and women there that I just want them to know that we're really thinking of them," Quinn said. "We wanted to make sure we saw them where they were at and let them know how important they are."