CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns honored the United States military by joining with the USO of Northern Ohio and visiting the Cleveland Military Entrance Processing Station (M.E.P.S.) on Wednesday.
“It’s a really important job, and I think they deserve the recognition that they get,” Mack said. “It’s not always easy. It’s not a very glamorous job a lot of the time, and I think it’s important to show your appreciation for your country.”
The visit was especially meaningful to Jackson, who was making his first trip to the Cleveland M.E.P.S. center.
“They cheer for us, and this is one of the many opportunities they have to come meet us," Jackson said. "I’m so proud to be here right now to shake their hands, take pictures with them. It means a lot just to give back to those who protect us.
“I heard a lot of stories about being on a ship, a submarine and just being away from family. You can compare a little bit. There’s a little similarity to both of our jobs, both of our duties, but most importantly, they protect us.”
Upon arrival for Wednesday’s visit, the Browns players were welcomed by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Schlichtig, who is the commanding officer of the 4th Battalion, United States Military Entrance Processing Command and Cleveland M.E.P.S.
During the welcome, Lt. Col. Schlichtig talked about the process of joining the military, which involves background checks, medical physicals, tattoo screenings, and the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery tests in mathematics, reading, comprehension and electronics. Only about one-third of those who want to join the military actually qualify for service to the country.
“It’s like being deployed and seeing folks come over,” Lt. Col Schlichtig said of the visit. “It’s just fantastic to see these guys. Service members see these players all the time, and they’re like superheroes to them. To take time out of their busy days and say, ‘thank you’ to the military, it’s a big morale boost.”
The trip to the Cleveland M.E.P.S. came one week after the Browns visited the Louis Stokes Cleveland V.A. Medical Center and two days after the nation honored those who have been lost in the fight for freedom on Memorial Day.
“It’s important for the Cleveland Browns to extend our appreciation and support for those who serve our country,” said Jenner Tekancic, director of community relations for the Browns. “With Memorial Day, everyone’s thinking about those who have served our country, and at the Browns, it’s on our minds every, single day of the year.
“This is an opportunity to come out and support the USO and extend our appreciation for the services they provide. We realize while individuals are deployed, their families are back home and we want to do what we can not only for those serving our country locally, but also, the families and the children who are separated from loved ones.”