News>Air Force presents top civic award to Indianapolis Colts
Gen. William R. Looney III, Air Education and Training Command commander, and Air Force Recruiting Service commander, Brig. Gen. Suzanne M. "Zan" Vautrinot, present Indianapolis Colts team president Bill Polian (middle right) and head coach Tony Dungy with the prestigious American Spirit Award at midfield prior to kickoff of the Colts vs Kansas City Chiefs National Football League game at the RCA Dome, Nov. 18 in Indianapolis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carl Berry)
The Grissom Air Reserve Base Honor Guard presents the colors prior to kick-off of the National Football League game between the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs Nov. 18 in Indianapolis. The Colts are the recepients of this year's Air Force American Spirit Award. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carl Berry)
Staff Sgt. Justin Allen sings the national anthem before the Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs National Football game Nov. 18 in Indianapolis. The Colts received the prestigious American Spirit Award before the start of the game. Sergeant Allen is a member of the Air Force Band of Flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carl Berry)
Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri signs an autograph for a student at Randolph Elementary School on Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, June 1. Colts team members spent the day visiting with base personnel and school children, enhancing the already strong relationship between the team and the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
by Maj. Sean McKenna
Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
11/20/2007 - INDIANAPOLIS (AFPN) -- The Indianapolis Colts earned the National Football League's Lombardi Trophy as the Super Bowl XLI champions last February in Miami. Now the team can add a prestigious Air Force award to its ever-expanding trophy case.
Gen. William R. Looney III, commander of Air Education and Training Command, presented Colts team president Bill Polian and head coach Tony Dungy with the American Spirit Award at midfield prior to the kickoff against the Kansas City Chiefs at the RCA Dome Nov. 18 here.
The American Spirit Award is the Air Force's highest form of recognition given to civilian organizations for longstanding commitment and support to Air Force recruiting efforts.
"The entire Colts organization has demonstrated incredible continued support to the Air Force and to our recruiting efforts," said Brig. Gen. Suzanne M. "Zan" Vautrinot, the Air Force Recruiting Service commander, who also attended the presentation. "All of them are to be applauded for their sustained excellence both on the field and in their communities."
The Colts have worked closely with the Air Force for many years. This year, the team started the "Colts in Motion Tour," an interactive marketing campaign in which Colts players and cheerleaders joined together with Air Force recruiters to promote community awareness. The organization also entered into a premium advertising agreement with the Air Force and provided autographed memorabilia for AFRS events.
Several Colts, including Mr. Polian, Coach Dungy and players Gary Brackett, Bob Sanders, Hunter Smith, Justin Snow and Adam Vinatieri, visited Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, June 1 and spent the day visiting with Airmen and their families and seeing the Air Force's mission first hand.
"It's just an honor to be affiliated with such a great organization like the Indianapolis Colts but also with the Air Force and what they do for our country," said Mr. Snow following his visit to Randolph.
"What is best about both the Colts and the United States military, particularly the Air Force, is we are all about excellence and teamwork and accomplishing great things," General Vautrinot said.
In addition to the award presentation, General Looney also served as the Colts' honorary team captain during the coin toss. Staff Sgt. Justin Allen, Air Force Band of Flight, sang the national anthem and the Grissom Air Reserve Base Honor Guard presented the colors.
The 16-person Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team, from Bolling AFB, Md., performed on the field at halftime.
The American Spirit Award was first presented in 1980 to legendary comedian and actor Bob Hope. Since then, recipients have included such dignitaries as Rudolph Giuliani, Dolly Parton, Paul Harvey, Reba McEntire, the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Cardinals.