On Veterans Day, it’s only fitting we spotlight one of the great off-field acknowledgements for a Cincinnati Bengals player. The team’s tight end, Hayden Hurst, has been nominated for the NFL’s 12th Annual “Salute to Service Award” presented by USAA.
The Salute to Service Award recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff and alumni with demonstrable commitment to honoring and supporting military and veteran communities, as nominated by NFL clubs. The finalists will be announced in January, and the recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally in February during the week of Super Bowl LVII, per the NFL’s official press release on the award.
Hurst was nominated because of his off-field assistance and contributions to military members and their families. He has long been an outspoken advocate for mental health, having experienced struggles himself.
Hurst has admirably parlayed those personal struggles into a gigantic force for good in the community. The Hayden Hurst Foundation was born of his own past issues with mental and emotional health and now engages in great community work to help bring awareness and assistance to others needing help.
Mental health and military members is an ongoing and massively unfortunate issue. Thankfully, more awareness is being brought to the forefront on the need for more help there, and great nonprofits like The Hayden Hurst Foundation help spotlight those issues and attempt to bring needed options and solutions.
This award getting whittled down to three final nominees is determined by fan vote. Fans can visit NFL.com/SaluteFanVote from now until November 30, with one vote per day, per fan being permitted.
USAA is the title sponsor of this great award, and they are proud to be a leading provider of insurance, banking and other financial services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families. They have committed $25,000 in the recipient’s name to official aid societies representing all U.S. military branches, with the NFL matching USAA’s contribution by donating an additional $25,000 to the awardee’s military or veteran charity of choice.
Hurst’s path from his struggles as a young man to becoming a first-round pick in the NFL draft a few years ago is an admirable one. He landed with the Bengals last year and the fit seems to be a great one, as Hurst has notched 38 catches and two touchdowns so far this season.
Our friend Dale Altman of the “Bengals and Brews” podcast has also been in touch with the Hurst family and they have asked for support. Altman has worked with them on a couple of things recently, so be sure to reach out to him to get further involved.
If Cathy Hurst asks, we have to get this done for that amazing lady Bengals Nation!! @thebengalorian @BengalsCaptain @bengaljims_BTR @zimwhodey @NewStripeCity @CJAnthonyCUI @Bengals pic.twitter.com/Zo8BxEz6cQ— Dale Altman (@DaleAltman) November 4, 2022
A big congratulations to Hurst for his nomination. This is one of the more valued awards by a lot of players, as they get recognized for their hard work off of the football field.
And, of course, a huge thank you to current and former military members, their significant others/spouses, as well as all first responders and their families on this Veteran’s Day weekend.