NFL’s Troy Vincent Visits Wounded Soldiers During USO Germany Trip
LANDSTUHL, Germany May 6, 2014 – The NFL and USO are two of the most iconic acronyms in American history, so it’s no surprise that awe-inspiring moments have been many through their years of partnership.
From time to time, those moments can lead to those brought overseas to inspire the troops in fact become the ones who are themselves truly inspired.
Indeed, this phenomenon occurred for Troy Vincent, who was in Germany late last week to deliver the keynote address this evening at the 129th Year birthday celebration of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Enlisted Corp and NCO Induction.
But first, the NFL’s new Executive Vice President of Football Operations spent the Thursday and Friday visiting wounded American soldiers to raise morale, but it was Vincent who was raised up as well by this firsthand emotional experience.
“I have been inspired more than ever by the bravery of our amazing soldiers, who are the true heroes that sacrifice their lives for our freedom,” said a passionate Vincent speaking from Germany. “To look in the eyes of our young men and women in wheelchairs and on crutches, and hear them say that what drives them every day is to fight for and protect our freedom has been unbelievable, and one of my most gratifying experiences ever.”
An experience the former All-Pro gathered from spending many hours during separate visits to the ICU and on the Wards at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and USO Warrior Center, which included a BBQ program and Vincent signing autographs for the wounded.
“It is my spirits that have been truly uplifted when I put my arms around these soldiers during this humbling experience,” stated Vincent. “I am overwhelmed as I sit at their bedsides and show them the love and respect they have earned, for they are our true American legends.”
Vincent also got a taste of how his new title is meaningful to the military, reflective of the long-standing relationship between the NFL and the USO.
“I was talking to one soldier, who asked me, ‘Mr. Vincent, how is it in your new position of being in charge of operations at the NFL,” since operations is such an important term to these soldiers, but obviously quite different from what it means to us at the NFL.”
While in Germany, the 15-year NFL defensive back and his wife Tommi have been hosted by USO Europe Escort Staff Walter Murren, Regional Vice President, and Michael Lewis, Director of Operations.
“The troops love Troy like they do having a Christmas package arrive here,” mused from Germany. “The NFL representatives like former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue have always had a special touch here, and Troy is so well known and has made a big impression, as has his wife Tommi, since they are both so natural and real with the troops.”
Importantly, these troop interactions have yielded results beyond morale building, Murren noted.
“Troy and I saw and talked about the similarities with our wounded and their families and that of injured NFL players and their families, and how the programs we each have benefit the other.”
Progress that was already evident during the two days of visits, according to Lewis.
“It has been a pleasure hosting Troy, and in walking with him at both the hospital and the Warrior Center, his inspiration has been shared by several soldiers whose eyes lit up to him as they expressed why they joined the service and their patriotism.”
A shared connection across the pond that has long been in place.
“We have 57,000 Americans over here who all seem to love the NFL, and Troy got to witness that, while also learning from them that they remember him from his NFL career,” exclaimed Lewis. “The privilege of hosting Troy has carried on our long association with the League, where we used to have Paul Tagliabue come over here to meet our military, so it’s great to have another NFL representative like Troy here.”
Here to not only meet the troops, but to deliver the important keynote address as well.
Vincent did so by providing words of encouragement and thanking the medical staff for their commitment to the medical attention and care given to America’s wounded warriors during their difficult times, as well as the continued care of service members and their families in the European region.
Be it from the podium or at the bedside, inspirational moments for Vincent himself and the Americans he touched in Germany.