(WFRV) – The Green Bay Packers announced their nomination for the 11th annual NFL Salute to Service Award.
According to the release, the award recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff, and alumni who show an apparent commitment to honoring and supporting military and veteran communities.
Who is the nominee this year? The team has chosen Chris Gizzi, the Strength & Conditioning Coordinator for the Packers.
Get to know Gizzi
Prior to his NFL career, the release says Gizzi attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He also earned back-to-back Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1996-97, becoming only the second player in the Academy’s history to do so, and led the WAC with 179 tackles as a senior.
He then began his professional football career with the Denver Broncos, spending the 1998 and 1999 seasons on the reserve/military list while he continued to honor his commitment to the Air Force.
Later on, the release explains how Gizzi began his Packers career as a player in 2000, where he played 11 games that season, and rejoined the team in 2013 as a strength and conditioning intern before being hired as a strength and conditioning assistant.
In 2019, he was promoted to his current position.
Gizzi works with local military nonprofit groups to spend time with other veterans – thanking them for their service and speaking at their events.
In 2019, the release says he hosted the Packers Huddle for Heroes in Green Bay, an event that partners current Packers players with several groups of local veterans to spend time together. Packers say this helps them show appreciation for the veterans’ service, listen to stories of service, and write letters to active-duty military members.
Gizzi also mentors and shares his experiences of being in the Air Force with many high school students.
On Sept. 24, 13 days after 9/11, Gizzi was asked to lead the team out of the tunnel onto the field with the American flag. He says it was an exciting experience.
“I hit the ground and I had to run. The moment called for it. I felt it. I blew the doors off that run as fast as I could, keeping my knees as high as I could as the ground shook and I screamed at the top of my lungs,” added Gizzi. “It was a moment when you felt like you were really a part of something bigger than yourself.”
What happens now?
Each club nominates someone for the award and if they win, the recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors – which is a primetime award special scheduled to air nationally the week of Super Bowl LVI.
Organizers say the winner will also be honored with a $25,000 donation to a military or veterans charity of their choosing, as well as a $25,000 donation in their name to official aid societies representing all U.S. military branches.
Finalists are scheduled to be announced in January.