For Immediate Release
December 7, 2018
Media Contact: Brandon Parker | Communications Manager
Brandon.Parker@nflpa.com | 202-756-9160
BEN GARLAND NAMED WEEK 13 NFLPA COMMUNITY MVP
Atlanta offensive lineman honored military members and their families over a four-day period
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ben Garland has been named Week 13 NFLPA Community MVP after hosting a dinner and a fundraiser, donating $40,000 and visiting the homes of military members and their families – most of whom are in need – over the course of four days.
“I am honored to be named this week’s Community MVP,” Garland said. “I know so many players doing so much in the community that I was shocked to see that I was selected.”
As an Air Force graduate and military veteran, the Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman has a heart for the men, women and families of those who have served in the Armed Forces. Garland’s passion was on display this past week when he gave back in multiple ways.
On December 1, Garland organized for 10 military veterans from the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program to attend Falcons practice. The event helped in their recovery process against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The next day, Garland continued his weekly routine of giving game tickets to military, this time to a family in the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) who lost their father to PTSD. After the game, he spent time with the families, took pictures and gifted them with jerseys.
On Monday, Garland took a Marine and his wife to dinner, where he surprised them with tickets to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. While on a mission overseas, the Marine broke every bone in his body except for his spine, lacerated his liver, suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost his right arm and most of the fingers on his left hand. Later that same night, Garland visited the home of a second family who has three kids in the military and surprised them with four Super Bowl tickets.
The fifth-year NFL player capped his string of community service on Tuesday by teaming up with Fellowship of Christian Athletes for a fundraiser to send children of military families to football camps. The event generated $60,000, with Garland making his own personal donation of $40,000. That night, he surprised another family at their home with two Super Bowl tickets. The mother, who lost her husband in combat in Afghanistan, is battling cancer while raising twins by herself.
“My family has a long proud history of service in the armed forces, so I was raised understanding what the families of loved ones go through,” Garland said. “During my service, I met the most incredible people – brave, selfless, intelligent, athletic, hard-working men and women of character. I want to give back as much as I can to fellow service members.”
After four standout seasons as a defensive lineman at Air Force and signing with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2010, Garland was placed on the reserve/military list as he served his two-year Air Force commitment. Following active duty and a deployment to Jordan in 2013, he joined the Broncos for two seasons before signing with Atlanta in 2015, when he eventually switched from the defensive to the offensive line.
During the offseason, Garland still serves in the public affairs department with the Colorado Air National Guard. He also serves as one of the Falcons’ most active outreach members, making frequent visits to hospitals, fundraisers and other community events.
In honor of Garland being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice along with an in-kind donation to him on behalf of our supporting partner Delta Private Jets. A limited-edition bobblehead will also be made of Garland and sold by our supporting partner Forever Collectibles at www.foco.com. The NFLPA will donate part of the proceeds from this collector’s item to their charity or foundation of choice.
The NFLPA is also proud to partner with Life is Good, the original positive lifestyle apparel brand, to showcase athletes whose values align with the brand’s commitment to growing the good in their communities and helping those in need. In January 2019, Life is Good will further advance the MVPs’ worthy causes with the Life is Good x NFLPA commemorative T-shirt collection at LifeisGood.com and Fanatics.com. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to each player’s charity or foundation of choice.
Garland, along with the other 2018 Community MVPs, will become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
The NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes NFL players who are making a positive impact in their local communities. Each week during the regular season, the NFLPA will celebrate one NFL player who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back to his community. Please visit our website to read more about the program as well as the current and past winners.
Week 7: Devin & Jason McCourty, New England Patriots
Week 8: Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans
Week 9: Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Week 10: Andrew Whitworth, L.A. Rams
Week 11: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Week 12: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
*Teams listed indicate player’s club when he was honored
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.