The NFL and USAA, an official NFL Salute to Service partner, announced Steve Cannon, CEO of AMB Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons, as the recipient of the 2020 Salute to Serve Award presented by USAA.
Cannon was selected for his countless efforts to honor and support members of the military community. The Atlanta Falcons have now been recipients of this award four out of the last five years: Former head coach Dan Quinn (2016), Andre Roberts (2017) and Ben Garland (2018).
"It's not a coincidence the Atlanta Falcons have earned the Salute to Service Award four out of the last five years," Cannon said. "That's just an incredible thing. Whenever you are selected for anything four out of the last five years, that means you're really committed to it. You're not paying lip service to it. To see all that we've done as an organization and then to pick up an award like that, that's just gravy. Couldn't be more thrilled about it."
Since his arrival to Atlanta in 2016, Cannon has been committed to ensuring the Falcons' organization become the league's benchmark franchise for military outreach and appreciation. He has been recognized for his efforts for the last few years, including being the Falcons' nominee and a top three finalist for this award in 2019.
Cannon graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and was Airborne Ranger qualified and served as 1st Lt. in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain. During his time in the Army he also served five years as an artillery officer.
In 2018, Cannon and Quinn, spearheaded the first NFL team directed USO Tour, visiting soldiers at various bases throughout Iraq and Kuwait. He has also coordinated trips for the Falcons to experience and interact with soldiers at West Point, Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, as well as creating opportunities for the military leadership to engage with business leaders in Atlanta to promote veteran hiring. Cannon also serves on the national board of directors for TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) and he and his fellow West Point classmates founded the Johnny Mac Soldiers fund in 2014. This organization honors military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships for military families and children of the fallen.
He is very involved with the Veteran's Empowerment Organization (VEO) and also serves as a strategic advisor to VETLANTA, an organization operated exclusively for veteran social and business networking and community service purposes.
Cannon is also a big supporter of a national nonprofit organization called FourBlock. This organization is dedicated to supporting returning military service members in their transition from military service to meaningful civilian careers. He has also created a symposium that is exclusively for Children of Fallen Patriots scholars. In conjunction with Atlanta United, the Falcons host a two-day program that allows young scholars to hear from professionals across the business on the power of education, networking and chasing your dreams.
The USAA will contribute $25,000 in Cannon's honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match the USAA's donation of $25,000 to the Johnny Mac Soldier's Fund, and Falcons' owner Arthur Blank will match with an additional $25,000 from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
Cannon and the Falcons will continue to strive for new ways each year to show their appreciation for the military members and their families.
"I feel great about where we are," Cannon said. "I love the fact that I can almost guarantee that our team is going to come up with better ideas for next year in how we can use our platform to shine a spotlight on our soldiers service around the world. That makes me feel really good."
Steve Cannon, Chief Executive Officer of AMB Sports & Entertainment, has been named the NFL 2020 Salute to Service Award recipient. Cannon has also been named the 2020 recipient of the USO's Patriot Award.