TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – One Buc Place was full of excitement and honor Thursday evening, but not for our hometown team. This particular night was all about honoring outstanding military members and their families.
The honors began with nominations from each branch of the Armed Forces. Thanks to both the Glazer Family and the General Norman Schwarzkopf Family, each service member went home knowing how much they are truly appreciated.
The evening was filled with smiles, children and most importantly, representatives from all military branches. The Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard were represented. The Air Force was represented by Senior Master Sergeant Keith Gardner.
“‘What does it mean to you, sir, to serve your country?’ Oh, it’s a blessing for me! Honestly, it’s something I feel I was called to do,” Gardner said.
The sentiment was shared by each honoree we spoke with.
Once inside the auditorium, it was time to bring each family on stage where members of both the Glazer and Schwarzkopf families hosted the presentation.
Buccaneers defensive tackle Clinton McDonald was proud to be there as well. Coming from a long line of service men and women, he knows there are quite a few similarities between football and serving in the Armed Forces.
“The way it comes down from the president, no different than the way it comes down from the GM, or the owner, then down to the generals…or the head coach,” McDonald said.
Senior Master Sergeant Gardner agrees there are many similarities.
“The teamwork and communication is absolutely critical whether you’re in the military or on the field,” he said.
McDonald’s mother was a colonel in the Reserves, so it’s no wonder he’s so tough on the field.
As part of their “thank you package” – besides receiving collector’s coins, commemorative trophies and a surprise RV getaway weekend, each family will be honored during a Bucs home game.
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