John Wodarek, the Steelers Event Operations Manager, 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.
This year fans can to vote for their favorite nominee for the first time, which will help determine the award's three finalists. To see all the nominees and vote, fans can visit NFL.com/SaluteFanVote from now until November 30. One vote per day, per fan is permitted.
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.
While Wodarek manages a lot of the activities that take place at Acrisure Stadium, his real passion is doing everything he can for the military community in the Pittsburgh area.
Wodarek, who is the son of a veteran, embraces each pillar of the NFL's Salute to Service campaign to honor, empower, and connect with our nation's service members, veterans, and their families. He serves as the Steelers' liaison with the military community, working with various organizations to aid those who served our country and continue to serve.
He works tirelessly to grow relationships with military programs, services, local bases, and veterans' organizations. He coordinates with them to provide countless opportunities, including our "Heroes Night Out" at Acrisure Stadium, the annual event which honors hundreds of post 9-11 veterans for their service and sacrifice. The U.S. Steel "Salute Our Heroes" event is an annual program which honors one veteran at each Steelers home game. Wodarek starts early in the offseason researching "unsung" heroes who don't often get the recognition they deserve. He works with the veterans and their families to encourage them to share their stories and experiences with Steelers Nation.
One of Wodarek's most memorable experiences was working with local veterans to provide them with life changing service dogs to empower them in their daily lives.
His continued relationship with the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center has opened doors for veterans and given them hope and the understanding that people care. Wodarek's work even extends to the families of military members, which he supports by creating memorable reunion events for families with their deployed service members and arranging experiences for members of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) during training camp, Pro Bowl and even Super Bowl trips.
Once the three finalists are determined by the fan votes, a select panel which includes Broncos tight end Andrew Beck, who won the award last year, as well as Chad Hennings, Air Force Academy graduate and three-time Super Bowl champion; Jim Mora, Sr., Marine Corps veteran and former NFL head coach; Lenny Bandy, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and NFL Vice President of Security; and Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs.