Seattle Seahawks Salute To Service Moment
Salute To Service Moment
The Seahawks and USAA, Official Salute to Service Partner of the Seahawks, are proud to honor and recognize a service member during each home game.
Army Veteran Richard Giertz
The Seattle Seahawks salute Army Veteran Richard Giertz. Born and raised in Fife, Washington, Richard joined the Army Reserves right out of high school at 18 years old. In 2009, he was awarded the Soldier's Medal for Heroism for saving a 5 year old boy from a burning house. Recently, for his hard work and dedication for 19 years, Richard recently earned the rank of Command Sergeant Major. During his free time, CSM Giertz also coaches youth football for the Fife junior football program and for the last 10 years was a member of our game day staff where he would assist in our military pre-game activations. CSM Giertz, we salute you for your service to our Country and to our team. Thank you!
Army Veteran Paul Cruz
USAA and The Seattle Seahawks salute Army Veteran Paul Cruz. Paul, who was born and raised in Guam, enlisted into the Army right out of high school at the age of 17. After serving 5 years in the Infantry, Cruz was commissioned as an Artillery officer. He has made multiple deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired in 2015 at the rank of Major. Paul continues his passion to serve Veterans and their Families in his role as a program manager at the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.
Second Lieutenant Ralph Esmenda
USAA and the Seattle Seahawks salute Second Lieutenant Ralph Esmenda with the Washington National Guard, who recently graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School. After completing the Ranger Training Assessment Course and moving right into Ranger School, Second Lieutenant Esmenda not only graduated from Ranger School, but he also achieved the school's Officer Honor Graduate award. Second Lieutenant Esmenda's next adventure is to take part in the Army's Basic Airborne Course before returning home to Kirkland to spend time with his wife and get back to his career as a Project Manager for a tech company
USAA and the Seahawks salute Sarah Blum. Sarah served in the Army from 1966 to 1971, where she earned the rank of Captain. In 1967, during the height of the Vietnam war, Sarah was assigned to the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi, Vietnam where she earned the Army Commendation Medal. Since the exit from the military, Sarah has become a advocate for military veterans dealing with Military Sexual Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress. Sarah is a 3rd degree black belt and is also celebrating her 80th birthday this weekend. Happy Birthday Sarah from USAA and your Seattle Seahawks!
Community Outreach VP, Mike Flood
Mike Flood has played an essential role with the development of a distinguished relationship between the Seattle Seahawks and the local military in the Pacific Northwest since joining the team in 1997. Joining Seahawks Legends Chuck Knox and Shaun Alexander, Flood was inducted into the Class of 2019 Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame for his community outreach efforts. Not only is Flood an active military supporter, he is also a military veteran. For 22 years, Flood was a pilot in the United States Coast Guard. Piloting C-130s, Dassault Falcon Jets, and H60 Jayhawk helicopters, Flood conducted search and rescue missions along the Oregon and Washington coast until retiring as a Commander in 1996. Flood introduced the Seahawks to the Fisher House, a non-profit organization that provides a home for military families free of charge while their loved ones are in the hospital and aided in a community-wide campaign to raise awareness and funds to build a second Fisher House facility in the Pacific Northwest. Flood is also an active board member of Camp Patriot, a veteran based non-profit organization created to provide outdoor recreation activities for disabled veterans. He also assisted in the creation of the Military Sea Hawkers, a group of military veterans from all branches who share a love for the Seattle Seahawks. In 2012, Flood was recognized by the Governor's Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee and the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs and awarded the Outstanding Service to Veterans Award. In 2013, helped create the "Heroes of 12" initiative where 6 lower bowl stadium seats were dedicated to our local military members and their families. These game-day seats come at no-cost to the service members and their families.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ray Hensel
USAA and the Seahawks salute retired Lieutenant colonel Ray Hensel for his 23 years of total service in both the Army and the Navy. 96-year-old veteran Mr. Ray Hensel joined the Navy the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor at the age of 17 where he spent 4 year. He then earned his commission and joined the Army Officer ranks, where Mr. Hensel would serve for 19 years prior to retiring. He has served in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and the Atlantic. Ray is a member of the Patriots Landing veteran senior community and every weekend Mr. Hensel and his fellow military friends come together to watch the Seahawks play.
United States Coast Guard - 13th District
With headquarters located here in Seattle, these men and women provide critical maritime services within the Pacific Northwest and along its coast. The 13th Coast Guard District was our honorary branch for the 2019 season.
Chief Master Sergeant Michael Hansell
Chief Master Sergeant Hansell entered the Air Force in January of 1993 as a Munitions Systems Specialist. He has held various positions within the Munitions Flight and also served as a First Sergeant for six years.
Ltc. Beatriz Florez
LTC Florez deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 as the Theater Petroleum Officer. As a civilian, she serves our Nation's Veterans at the Veterans Hospital Administration as a Suicide Prevention Coordinator. She is currently assigned to the 310 Expeditionary Sustainment Command and is scheduled to deploy to Iraq later this year.