FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - The Atlanta Falcons will embark on a USO tour to Iraq to visit active duty service members at three military bases. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, AMB Group CEO Steve Cannon, kicker Matt Bryant, guard Ben Garland and center Alex Mack will represent the team, showing their gratitude for the sacrifices that U.S. service members make for the country.
The Falcons are the only NFL team that will conduct their own USO tour in support of the 52nd Anniversary of the partnership between the NFL and the USO.
"We are fired up to have this rare opportunity to show our appreciation for our troops and spend time with them during their deployment," Quinn said. "We have so much respect for what these men and women do every single day, and I think this is a great opportunity to show our gratitude to all the members of our armed services at these bases."
The Falcons organization has several deeply-rooted connections to the military.
Quinn, who won the league's Salute to Service Award in 2016, believes the armed forces do team better than anyone and has said if he wasn't a coach, he'd be in the military.
Garland, the team's 2017 Man of the Year recipient, is a 2010 graduate of the Air Force Academy and currently serves in the Colorado Air National Guard, and Cannon is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
"The USO has a 52-year history of working with the NFL and its teams to support service members and their families. We're excited to work this year with the Atlanta Falcons to keep our service members in Iraq connected to family, home, and country," said USO senior vice president of entertainment Lorie Hennessey.
An extension of the NFL's Salute to Service – the league's yearlong work to honor, empower and connect service members through the unifying lens of football and strategic partnerships with impact-driven organizations – this tour marks one of many activations that the Falcons host for service members and veterans annually.
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, engagement with over 500 military service members and veterans during gameday events and positively impacting the lives of close to ten thousand other service members through their community programs.