Former Key Clubber receives NFL honor

Vicki Hermansen | Feb 01, 2019

Former Key Clubber receives NFL honor

Ben GarlandBen Garland learned about the importance of service early. While in high school, he was a member of Key Club – and served as president – at Grand Junction, Colorado’s Central High School. Currently a member of the Atlanta Falcons football team, Garland will receive the 2018 Salute to Service Award from the NFL and USAA in ceremonies that precede the Super Bowl this weekend.  

This past year, Garland took Falcons teammates and coaches to Italy, Germany, Iraq and Kuwait in his volunteer work to support the military. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and is a member of the Colorado Air National Guard.  

“He represents what the Kiwanis family instills in so many human beings,” said Russell Adsit, Rocky Mountain District leadership development coordinator. “This guy promotes service, and, by the way, he’s a pretty good football player too!”

His Falcons teammates also nominated him for the Walter Payton Man of the Year NFL Award, an award that honors excellence on and off the field.

“Ben has consistently placed serving others in need as a very high priority in his life and as his dad, I could not be more proud,” said John Hildebrand, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Grand Junction. “Ben is a great reflection of our Kiwanis mission statement and commitment to improve the world.”    

Hildebrand said his son’s favorite charities and causes are those that support veterans and the military. He also visits children in Atlanta-area hospitals.

“His Key Club service was a quiet thing that he did,” said Hildebrand. “He was involved in student government too. His goal was the Air Force Academy, and for selection he had to be a proven leader. He needed that for his résumé, but that’s become part of who he is.” Ben graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2010 and did two years of active military service.


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