The Green Bay Packers have nominated former Packers guard Daryn Colledge for the 12th annual NFL Salute to Service Award, which recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff and alumni with demonstrable commitment to honoring and supporting military and veteran communities.
New this year is an opportunity for fans to vote for their favorite nominee, which will help determine the award's three finalists. To see all the nominees and vote, fans can visit NFL.com/SaluteFanVote from now until November 30. One vote per day, per fan is permitted.
Each club has nominated an individual and finalists are scheduled to be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally the week of Super Bowl LVII. The winner of the award will be honored with a $25,000 donation to a military or veterans charity of their choosing, as well as a $25,000 donation in their name to official aid societies representing all U.S. military branches.
(Packers.com featured Colledge and his military service in a story posted in November of 2019. Click here to re-visit that feature.)
Selected by the Packers out of Boise State in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, the durable offensive lineman spent five seasons with the team, culminating in the Packers' victory in Super Bowl XLV. He started at left guard, playing in all 80 possible regular season games, and went on to play three seasons in Arizona (2011-13) and one in Miami (2014). After retiring from the NFL in 2015, Colledge enlisted in the Idaho National Guard in 2016 as a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter repairer.
"I always wanted to come back and serve, and I had a great opportunity to do that," said Colledge. "It was like being back in a locker room, just being with a group of people who had the same goal as you and were striving for the same outcome…I found that team and that brotherhood again in the military that I had been missing. Different goals and consequences, but a team nonetheless."
Growing up in North Pole, Alaska, Colledge was surrounded by military bases and family members serving, including his brother. He continued fostering that military connection while playing football, traveling as part of a Navy Entertainment trip in 2011 with the Packers and taking USO tours when he could. When he returned to Boise, he decided to enlist there to give back to the community that supported him in college. In 2018, he was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months, serving as a mechanic, door gunner, medic assistant and hoist operator. His four-person medevac unit had to respond to a variety of calls to help bring soldiers home safely. Since returning from Afghanistan, Colledge continued serving through April of 2022, and he now serves as a reservist and works for his alma mater, Boise State.
"The NFL allowed me the opportunity to take care of my family and do things I never imagined possible. But it also gave me the opportunity to enter into service not as an obligation, but as something I could do for myself," said Colledge. "I wanted to go out there and experience it for myself and serve my country on the front lines…it also gave me a unique window into the sacrifice that men and women who serve make for us every day."
The Salute to Service Award is part of the NFL's year-round commitment to recognize and honor the military and veteran community. Each year, the NFL and its 32 teams come together to honor, empower, and connect with members of the military as part of the NFL's Salute to Service initiative. The league's military appreciation efforts culminate in November with NFL Salute to Service games and other special events honoring and thanking veterans, active-duty service members and their families.