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NFL Supports Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2003 – Vietnam veteran and four-time Super Bowl champion Rocky Bleier, running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will narrate a National Football League public service announcement in support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund during network telecasts beginning Nov. 9.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provides gifts to military families that have lost a loved one in defense of the United States. Its goal is to provide financial support to help spouses and children of military through difficulties they may face. The gift is made quietly and without fanfare, to protect the privacy of the families, according to the fund's Web site.

This NFL public awareness campaign, "Families Helping Families" kicks off Veterans Day weekend. It was initiated by six NFL owners Bud Adams, Tennessee Titans; Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints; Wellington Mara, New York Giants; Art Modell, Baltimore Ravens; Alex Spanos, San Diego Chargers; and Ralph Wilson, Buffalo Bills -- who served in the military during World War II.

It includes TV, radio and Internet messages in support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund as well as in-stadium salutes to the military and military hospital visits by players. NFL and its players will contribute $100,000 to help launch the campaign. NFL.com will host a sub-Web site, NFL.com/heroesfund, which will provide information and a link for fans to donate to the fund.

"Our clubs recognize that the men and women of our armed forces are tremendous NFL fans," said Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "This program is one small way to repay that support to families who lost a loved one in defense of our country in the Middle East. Our owners, coaches and players speak with one voice on this project."

The text for the 30-second television spot narrated by Bleier:

"The National Football League family is committed to supporting the courageous men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Mideast.

"But the fight for freedom is not without loss.

"And the NFL urges you to join us and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in supporting the military families of those heroes who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country."

The Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum is berthed on the Hudson River in Manhattan, New York. In addition to the USS Intrepid, the museum features the destroyer USS Edson, the submarine USS Growler as well as educational exhibits and more than 25 aircraft. Commissioned in 1943, the Intrepid served as a prime recovery vessel for NASA and completed three tours of duty during the Vietnam conflict.

The NFL also saluted America's service members and DoD civilians Sept. 4 with a concert on the National Mall here. It featured Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears and Aerosmith. The event honored America's military forces, especially those who have participated in the global war on terrorism as part of Operation Tribute to Freedom.

Last year Tagliabue visited military hospitals in Germany, said Joe Browne, NFL executive vice president for communications. He told the service members "as long as you're on the front lines, we'll do our best to keep you on the front page."

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