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Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on Friday was named the inaugural recipient of the "Redskins Salute Award," which honors a player for their involvement with the military community.
Griffin III – who grew up the son of two U.S. Army sergeants – was presented the award at Friday's 53rd-annual Washington Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon by General Larry Spencer, Vice Chief of Staff with the U.S. Air Force.
Fans kicked off the 2014 football season with Redskins players, coaches, cheerleaders and alumni at the 53rd Annual Welcome Home Luncheon presented by the team's Charitable Foundation & Alumni Association on August 22, 2014.
The quarterback began his speech by recognizing all members of the military in attendance at the luncheon.
"The award means so much to me personally because the military has meant so much to my life," Griffin III said. "I mean your country asks so much of you, they ask you to put your life on the line in times of danger, so I just want to thank you guys and salute you once again for everything you do for this great nation."
Spencer told the crowd that Griffin III is an ideal example of what an NFL player should be both on and off the field.
He said he's had the opportunity to bring bus loads of military members to Redskins practices on occasions, and Griffin III doesn't hesitate when he sees them to make sure he comes over and greets every last one of them.
"I have to tell you Robert, riding on the bus back, they were on cloud nine," Spencer said.
The award, which will be given annually, is named for the team's new Redskins Salute Military Club.
A first of its kind in the NFL, Redskins Salute is where service members can connect with the team and with each other, sharing Redskins stories, experiences and the shared passion behind an 80 year tradition with free, year-round benefits.
Griffin III said team initiatives like Redskins Salute and charitable efforts like the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation make him proud to be in the position he's in.
"We get to see all these stories at this Welcome Home Luncheon of all the great things that all these guys are doing, and I want you guys to know that you mean the world to me and to the fans in this room," Griffin III said. "And I want everyone in this room to salute these guys to continue to be the men that they have grown up to be, to continue to be the men they have been in this community so this community can continue to go forward."