Pat Tillman, an all-star football player with the Arizona Cardinals, traded in his football pads for Kevlar and combat boots to serve his country in the wake of the attacks of 9/11. Eight months after the September 11 attacks and after completing the fifteen remaining games of the 2001 season, Tillman turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army.
Not surprisingly, the undersized perennial underdog who was never even supposed to be drafted by the NFL much less start, then shatter the Cardinals record for most tackles in a season, became an Army Ranger. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom before being deployed to Afghanistan and later being fatally shot in 2004.
He left behind his loving high-school sweetheart, whom he married just prior to enlistment in the Army Rangers, and his brother who enlisted with him and served alongside him.
In Pat’s honor, the Pat Tillman Foundation was created after his death in 2004, and was established to carry forward his legacy by inspiring and supporting those striving for positive change in themselves and the world. The Foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships – building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.
On April 26th, the Pat Tillman Foundations’ signature event, Pat’s Run, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Pat’s Run is held annually in late April to commemorate the day Pat lost his life in Afghanistan serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Symbolic of the #42 he wore as an Arizona State University Sun Devil, Pat’s Run is 4.2 miles long, ending on the 42-yard line in Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona.
Last year there were 35,000 participants! This year the “Band of Brothers” team consisting of Steve Knott, Brad Karlan, Army Lt. Col. Jess Calohan and myself will be joining the cause. Donations from the race directly support the Tillman Military Scholars program, which provides scholarships to U.S. military veterans and spouses who reflect Pat’s values, strength of character, and commitment to service. All donations are tax deductible. The more we raise, the more we can help these outstanding Americans impact our country for years to come.
To donate, please visit our website. Any and all amounts are greatly appreciated.
Thank you for reading.