The Pittsburgh Steelers and Heinz Field Management have a long history of working with and supporting local military organizations. On April 27, the U.S. Army recognized their efforts and presented the organizations with a plaque thanking them for their support.
Local military organizations are included each gameday in on-field presentations, being seen in pre-game and post-game capacities such as the singing of the National Anthem, color guard, Terrible Towel unfurl, stadium flyovers and more.
“For an organization like the Pittsburgh Steelers to ensure U.S. Army Soldiers in the Pittsburgh-area have an opportunity to participate in aspects like the Color Guard during the pregame National Anthem ceremonies and participate in on-field game day activities, is unbelievable,” said U.S. Army Sergeant First Class David Beckett. “The morale boost and the cheers from Steeler Nation that our Soldiers receive is truly an amazing experience.”
The plaque and a letter of appreciation were presented to Steelers employee John Wodarek who is responsible for involving military organizations into the gameday program. The son of an Army Veteran, Wodarek recently organized a donation of Heinz Field equipment to the Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard, enlisting the help of Steelers Offensive Tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
“We are incredibly proud of John’s work incorporating the military into our gameday experience,” said Jim Rooney, who was in attendance at the ceremony. “He represents the culture of our organization and the values we share with the military. We pride ourselves on teamwork, integrity, and respect. I think both the Army and the Steelers have proven that these values are successful both on and off the field.”
From the time the team was founded until now, a continued commitment to include the military in Steelers operations has existed. When Steelers Founder Art Rooney Sr.’s brother Tom was killed in action during the Battle of Guam in World War II, he made it a priority to develop programs for military families. His son, Dan Rooney, continued these efforts and that tradition continues with Art Rooney II. The Steelers recognize a veteran or active military member at each home game with an on-field presentation currently known as the ATI Salute to Heroes. Over 150 local men and women of the Armed Forces have been honored on-field with donations that have ranged from Super Bowl tickets to service animals to even new homes.
To find a military program you can donate to in your area, visit Military.com.