Wallace is Steelers Salute to Service nominee

Cornerback Levi Wallace is the Steelers nominee for the NFL's Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.

The award recognizes NFL players, coaches, personnel and legends who make a commitment to supporting the military community.

Wallace comes from a military family as both of his parents, Wendy and the late Walter Wallace both served in the United States Air Force. His mother served for four years in a personnel role, while his father served for 21 years as an airplane mechanic and reached the rank of Master Sergeant.

"My parents were in the military and any way I can try and honor them, I do," said Wallace.

It was their dedication to their country that helped Wallace get to where he is today, from the way they raised him to the support their service provided.

"I wouldn't be here without my parents serving in the military," said Wallace. "I was able to go to school because my dad and mom had the GI Bill. I was able to go to Alabama."

Coming out of high school Wallace wasn't heavily recruited and didn't have any scholarship offers. His dad encouraged him to pursue his dream, so he went to Alabama on the GI Bill for two years, walked on to the football team, and eventually earned a scholarship.

"If I wasn't able to go there in the first place, I wouldn't be in the position I am today," said Wallace. "Because of their service, I am able to be here."

One of the projects he got involved with when he joined the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent is the hero banner program for military veterans. Each year the Steelers present local veterans with banners honoring their service, which then hang on Art Rooney Avenue during the month of November. Wallace once again participated in the program this year.

"I just want to give back to those who put it on the line for us," said Wallace. "I have tons of respect for those who have served and continue to serve. Many of my dad's friends come from military backgrounds and served, my uncles, and just the bond they shared.

"I try to give back as much as I can. Sometimes they get overlooked. It's always about giving back to them.

"I play a game for a living and these men and women sacrifice their life, sometimes pretty young. Any way I can give back to them I try to."

Fans can vote for their favorite nominee, which will help determine the award's three finalists along with the NFL internal committee and USAA. To see all the nominees and vote, fans can visit Salute To Service Vote from now until November 30. One vote per day, per fan is permitted.

The finalists will be announced in January, and the winner will be announced the week of the Super Bowl.

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