Philly Sports Teams & Toyota Salute Nation’s Heroes
Nov 2, 2023
served in the Nation’s military. The month-long, market-wide military appreciation campaign centered around Veterans Day Week includes joint public-service messaging from Philadelphia’s Eagles (NFL), Phillies (MLB), 76ers (NBA), and Flyers (NHL) expressing appreciation and support for the men and women of America’s Armed Forces.
This collaborative effort for “Military Appreciation Month” in November is part of the larger ongoing partnership the Tri-State Toyota Dealers have with Philadelphia’s major professional sports teams with efforts to recognize, honor and support those who are serving – and, have served – in the U.S. Military.
“The Tri-State Toyota Dealers are pleased and honored to continue in the tradition of joining each of our Philadelphia sports teams to support our active military and veterans here in the Delaware Valley. These are our local service men and women to recognize and support,” said Paul Muller, President of the Tri-State Toyota Dealers Association. “And, to be able to do that alongside all of our sports partners is a privilege, and quite frankly, it is a unique collaboration that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the country. It is purely ‘Philadelphian’, and we are so proud to take part,” Muller added.
The overall collaboration together with Toyota is part of each team’s individual efforts to “salute” active military members and honor veterans throughout the year.
“We salute the courageous men and women who have bravely served our country to protect our freedom,” said Jackie Cuddeback, Phillies Senior Vice President, Partnership Sales and Corporate Marketing. “On behalf of the Phillies, we are proud to once again join Toyota and our fellow sports teams as we pay tribute to our nation’s heroes.”
A large part of the collaboration’s efforts in November will include honoring veterans and active members of the military during “military appreciation” games taking place at the Philadelphia Sports Complex throughout Veterans Day Weekend. The Philadelphia sports community’s kick-off to the 2023 military appreciation tributes occurs on Saturday, November 4, at The Wells Fargo Center during the Flyers’ annual “Military Appreciation” game, presented by Toyota.
“The Philadelphia Flyers are proud to continue our relationship with our longtime partner, Toyota, and together honor the great sacrifices made by members of our armed forces,” said Todd Glickman, Chief Revenue Officer of Comcast Spectacor. “Their support will allow us to once again celebrate active service members, veterans, and their families at our annual Military Appreciation Game, which has become more and more impactful every season as this partnership has grown. We are excited to share more details in the coming weeks of what will make this season’s Military Appreciation Initiatives our biggest yet thanks to Toyota!”
This effort continues Sunday, November 5 at the Eagles “Salute to Service” game presented by Toyota.
“We are privileged to join the Tri-State Toyota Dealers and Philadelphia sports community every year in recognizing our veterans and active-duty service members,” said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. “Our annual Salute to Service game, presented by Toyota, is an opportunity for us to honor the brave men and women of all five branches of the United States Armed Forces at Lincoln Financial Field.”
And the “military appreciation” initiatives will conclude with Toyota-sponsored events at The Wells Fargo Center for the Sixers on Sunday, November 12 for the “Stars and Stripes” game.
“The service men and women of this country put their lives on the line every single day in what is deemed the ultimate sacrifice for protecting our freedom," said Katie O’Reilly, 76ers Chief Revenue Officer. “We join forces with our fellow Philadelphia professional sports teams in teaming up with Toyota to recognize and honor these brave and heroic individuals during Military Appreciation Month."
Each of these Philadelphia professional sports teams are deeply involved in their communities, supporting veterans and active military members. As a part of those activities, each team supports Toyota’s efforts to highlight the Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) program from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
During all three military appreciation games in November, the Philadelphia Flyers, Eagles, and 76ers will recognize honored veterans who are also HOH Ambassadors: U.S. Army Sergeant, Ryan Pitts (Ret.); U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, Rico Roman (Ret.); U.S. Army First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell (Ret); and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Bradley Snyder (Ret.).
Collectively representing our Nation’s armed services, all four of these honored veterans will be recognized for their work as Hiring Our Heroes Ambassadors helping veterans, service personnel and military spouses to find meaningful jobs and careers once they return to civilian life.
Hiring Our Heroes is an important program helping to enable those brave men and women who have served with tools and opportunities to translate their valuable skills and experience back into civilian life, including the Drive Your Future Initiative championed by Medal of Honor Recipient and HOH Brand Ambassador, U.S. Army Sergeant, Ryan Pitts (Ret.).
“I would like to thank Toyota for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on veterans,” said Sgt. Pitts. “Too many veterans struggle to find a new mission after the military. Through Hiring Our Heroes, thousands of transitioning service members and veterans receive guidance, support, and training to achieve economic success through meaningful employment. I want to drive home the fact that hiring veterans and their spouses is an opportunity to recognize and value the unique contributions they bring to the workplace. There’s no better way to thank a veteran than by hiring them.”
Army Staff Sergeant Rico Roman (Ret.) had his left leg amputated above the knee when wounded by an improvised explosive device while serving his third tour in Iraq in February of 2007. As a Purple Heart recipient, he was introduced to sled hockey in 2008 by Operation Comfort, an organization dedicated to assisting injured U.S. service personnel at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Staff Sergeant Roman joins Toyota initiative to champion the ongoing support of the military and veteran communities.
“I am so thrilled to be part of Team Toyota during these military appreciation events and celebrating the great partnership with Hiring Our Heroes,” states Staff Sgt. Roman. “This partnership is so important in providing resources to veterans who return into civilian life after serving in the U.S. Military. Thank you to all who have served and those who support us."
First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell (Ret.) joined the Army in 2002 following her graduation from the University of Colorado. Two years later, she became the first female soldier in U.S. history to lose a limb in active combat after a roadside bomb struck her Humvee during a deployment to Iraq. Melissa joined Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota as a “Drive Your Future” Ambassador in 2020 to ensure service members, veterans and family members are prepared to drive their future and plan for their next career move.
“As a Veteran, it means so much that the sports teams in Philadelphia not only take time to recognize those that have worn our nation's uniform but bring awareness to the positive impact that Hiring Our Heroes has on the military community,” said Lt. Stockwell. “I am a proud member of Team Toyota and even more so knowing that they go above and beyond to make sure the appropriate thanks is given.”
Lieutenant Bradley Snyder joined Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota as a Personal Branding Ambassador in 2019. He began his professional career as an Ensign in the US Navy, having graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in Naval Architecture. Brad deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, where he sustained complete vision loss as a result of an explosion. Drawn to the pool as a part of the rehabilitation process, Snyder’s determination to succeed pushed him to become a three-time Paralympian and an eight-time medalist. Brad medically retired from the U.S. Navy in 2013.
“I am exceedingly grateful for the heartfelt support of veterans from the great city of Philadelphia and their excellent sport programs: the 76ers, the Phillies, and the Eagles,” states Lt. Snyder. “Not only is it critically important to recognize and thank those who have made so many sacrifices during the past 20 years in the Global War on Terror, but practicing such gratitude is an investment in our future security and prosperity. By honoring our veterans, we demonstrate not only our gratitude for their service, but also the value we place on the preservation of our liberty, which in turn inspires future generations of service members. I’m truly stoked to be able to reciprocate this love at the 76ers game on November 12th! Go 76ers, Phillies, and Eagles!“
For the past nine years, Toyota has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on its Hiring Our Heroes initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses by finding meaningful jobs.
“At Toyota, we believe that hiring veterans is a smart move and a great investment. We encourage every business to support returning service members who are starting new chapters of their lives,” said Ben Pyle, General Manager of Toyota Motor North America’s Central Atlantic Region.
“As part of the overall ‘Toyota Family’, the support we place behind the Hiring Our Heroes program and the invaluable work Ryan, Rico, Melissa, Brad, and so many others are doing to help our vets assimilate back into civilian life is one of the most-important things we do year-long as the local Toyota Dealers here in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys,” said the Tri-State Toyota Dealers’ President, Paul Muller.
The Hiring Our Heroes program, championed in partnership with Toyota by Sgt. Pitts, Staff Sgt. Roman, Lt. Stockwell and Lt. Snyder, is an initiative that resonates with Philadelphia’s professional sports teams.
To support their mission, visit ResumeEngine.org, MyCareerSpark.org, and HiringOurHeroes.org to learn more about the Hiring Our Heroes program and how you may help and get involved. And, to support the military appreciation efforts from each of the Philadelphia sports teams, purchase tickets to the games honoring the brave men and women of the American Armed Forces.