New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona was announced as a finalist for the NFL and USAA’s ‘Salute to Service’ award.
The recipient of the 10th annual award, given to those who display exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community, will be announced at the NFL Honors show on the Saturday before Super Bowl LV.
Cardona, also a Navy Lieutenant who attended the U.S. Navy Academy, certainly is deserving of the honor. Here’s are a few of his qualifications, per Patriots.com:
Joe Cardona attended the Naval Academy for four years prior to his 2015 rookie season where he was an Ensign in the Navy and worked as a staff officer at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Rhode Island. That season, he was working his second job four days a week, which included a 24-hour shift during the team’s “day off.” In 2017, Joe was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and served as a junior commissioned officer in the United States Navy and in 2019, Joe was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Navy. He proudly wears his Naval uniform as the team boards the plane for away games. Joe has facilitated more than a dozen re-enlistment and retirement ceremonies at Gillette Stadium for fellow military members. He also led a handful of free football clinics for military children at military bases across New England and replaced military family toys that were burned in a fire three years ago at Joint Base Cape Cod. In 2017, Joe rallied teammates and coaches to each donate a pair of tickets to their game against Atlanta and over 150 military members, who had recently returned from deployment, were invited to the game and participated in a special pregame ceremony. Each year during Memorial Day weekend, Joe helps plant more than 37,000 American flags in the Boston Common to honor the brave men and women from Massachusetts that have lost their lives defending our country. Joe also offers his support to the Travis Manion Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.
A Patriots player never has won the award since its inception in 2011, but we’re rooting for Cardona to change that.