CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have a long-standing tradition of paying tribute and respect to those in service to the country, something that was important to former owner Al Lerner because of time in the United States Marine Corps, and that will continue on Sunday.
When the Browns host the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium, they will hold their annual Salute to Service game to recognize each of the branches of the United States military, paying tribute to those who have served, are serving currently and have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The USO of Northern Ohio will be the Browns’ special guests for Sunday’s game.
The Browns have selected USAA Military Affairs Representative Mike Warner as the honorary Browns Give Back First and Ten Coin Toss Captain. Warner gave 32 years of service to the country in both the United States Air Force and U.S. Army Reserve.
Warner, who retired in 2016 as a Command Chief Master Sergeant with the Air Force’s Material Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, will present the officials with a unique military challenge coin, designed and created by USAA for use in the coin toss.
Members of the USO of Northern Ohio from multiple branches of the military will be recognized in the Browns’ Hats off to Heroes Honor Row. Additionally, other members of the USO of Northern Ohio and the Ohio National Guard will on the field to present the nation’s colors.
Prior to kickoff, the 180th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard from the Toledo Air National Guard Base will conduct a flyover with four F-16s.
During the first quarter, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Micah Herndon will serve as the Dawg Pound Captain. A native of Tallmadge, Ohio, Herndon ran in the 2019 Boston Marathon in tribute of those he served with, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the country.
In addition to the Salute to Service game, the Browns paid visits to both the USO of Northern Ohio and the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Cleveland Harbor earlier this week.
At the USO of Northern Ohio, Browns owner Dee Haslam, executive vice president JW Johnson, tight end Pharaoh Brown, defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert, Baker Mayfield and Drew Stanton, guards Malcolm Pidgeon and Colby Gossett, tackle Drew Forbes and center Willie Wright helped make 600 care packages and deployment bags for local troops.
Along with the items in the care packages, the Browns’ players and executives wrote notes of appreciation and encouragement to the troops.
At the Coast Guard Station, center JC Tretter, rookie linebacker Mack Wilson and Browns Legend Hanford Dixon held a meet-and-greet with representatives from the station, received a unique tour of the facility and shipped out onto Lake Erie to learn about the group’s year-round efforts.