FORT WORTH - U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) and the Kansas State football team were honored with the 2017 Great American Patriot Award and the Armed Forces Merit Award, respectively, Saturday at 15th annual Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Saturday at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium.
Rep. Granger is the Chairwoman of the Congressional Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and previously has been honored with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award. She also has been lauded with the Army’s Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service by the Secretary of the Army.
She is a native of Greenville, Texas and grew up in Fort Worth where she graduated from Texas Wesleyan University with a major in education.
Rep. Granger later taught journalism and English on the high school level, opened her own successful insurance agency and was elected as the first female Mayor of Fort Worth in 1991. She has served as representative of the Texas 12th Congressional since Jan. 3, 1997. She has been a major champion for the USS Fort Worth to have a ship named after the city.
“I am truly honored to receive this award,” said Rep. Granger in a recent release. “As a U.S. Representative, I truly believe that every person has the right to live without the threat of nuclear weapons, that war is not a suitable response to conflict, and that America has the resources to both protect and provide for its citizens. We are grateful to our Armed Forces for providing this safety and security for our country.”
Kansas State’s reception of the sixth annual Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America represents a long and fruitful relationship of the university, its football program, the Armed Forces, and nearby Ft. Riley adjacent to Manhattan, Kan.
The K-State football squad has been a finalist for the Armed Forces Merit Award in both 2015 and ’16, and the Wildcats have had several initiatives with active U.S. Army and Ft. Riley base.
Among the many cooperative efforts are joint physical workouts with Ft. Riley soldiers, K-State’s annual Fort Riley Day with 1,000-plus soldiers and families entertained at tailgate parties and other festivities and sendoff receptions for Ft. Riley personnel by members of the K-State football staff and student-athletes on deployment.
The relationship between the Armed Forces and K-State has been a model for several colleges and universities. From head coach Bill Snyder, a member of the NFF College Hall of Fame, to student managers and trainers, it has been a total joint effort of support by the Wildcats.
“We were honored to have our dear friends from Fort Riley and the Black Lions with us for one of our home games," said Bill Snyder in a recent taped message, “and proud and honored to receive the Armed Forces Merit Award."
Over 100 recruits also were administered the oath of admission into various areas of the Armed Forces during special halftime ceremonies.
Previous winners of the Great American Patriot Award have been 2016, the late Chris Kyle, U.S. Navy Seal; 2015, Gen. Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the U.S Air Force; 2014, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Marine Corps; 2013, Admiral William McRaven, U.S. Special Operations Command and current Chancellor of the University of Texas, U.S. Navy; 2012, General Norton A. Schwartz, Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; 2011, Salvatore Giunta, Medal of Honor Recipient, U.S. Army; 2010, Admiral Thad Allen, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired); 2009, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Navy; 2008, General David H. Petraeus, Former Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, U. S. Army; 2007, Preston "Pete" Geren, Former U.S. Secretary of the Army; 2006, Gordon England, Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Previous FWAA Armed Forces Merit Award recipients have been 2016, U.S. Marine veteran Steven Rhodes, DE, Middle Tennessee; 2015, U.S. Army veteran Bret Robertson, safety, Westminster College (Mo.); 2014, Daniel Rodriguez, WR-special teams, Clemson; 2013, Brandon McCoy, DE, North Texas; 2012, Nate Boyer, U.S. Army veteran, Texas, long snapper.