The Cleveland Browns Hats Off to Our Heroes program was created following the 9/11 tragedy to honor those who dedicate themselves to local communities and our country. The Browns will honor these individuals with the Honor Row tribute during every home game this season. The opportunity was extended to Season Ticket Members for the December 23rd game via the pre-game e-blast sent to more than 3,000 members. Numerous unique nominations from Season Ticket Members were received during the open nomination process during the beginning of the season.
Those who were selected are a picture of selfless sacrifice and service. Those who have gone above and beyond to fight for and protect our country. The Cleveland Browns were excited to recognize six of those who served or are currently serving in varying branches of our armed forces.
Their names and stories are as follows:
Retired United States Marine Corps Sergeant Trevor Gift has seen it all. Multiple deployments and eight long and hard years in the service he's proud to say that he willingly did all that he could to protect and serve to make sure that he did what he could to make a living he was proud of and provide for his family. After returning from overseas and retiring from the military, he came home to work in the Ford plant, as a train conductor and in an oil field. He is a hard worker and is more than resilient. Over the course of his career he's was awarded the following: a Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and National Defense Medal.
Retired Ohio National Guard Major Andrew T. Hawkins retired after 20 years of service both on active duty in the Ohio National Guard and or the US Army. In these 20 years he was on active duty for seven years in Europe (Germany and Belgium), deployed four times to the Middle East of which two of these times he was the commander of his unit. After 16 years in the service he came down with a rare form of cancer which he recovered from and led his unit on an active duty deployed as the commander. Like all members of the military who are deployed to the Middle East there is a great deal of stress on the family who are at home. (Andy is married with two daughters and a son ranging in age from 15 to 23). His leadership and dedication were well recognized by many of his superior officers. On top of his impressive resume, he's received the following awards: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Award (twice), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Southeast Asia Service Ribbon with 3 stars, Iraq Campaign Medal, Liberation of Kuwait (Kuwait) and the Liberation of Kuwait (Saudi Arabia) Ribbons.
United States Marine Corps Captain Patrick Nugent has been in the service for six years. He was shot and nearly killed one year ago losing over a dozen units of blood as he was evacuated by chopper to the military hospital on the next island. Emergency surgeries followed by additional extraordinary efforts by the heroic medical teamwork kept him alive but he was still not expected to make it. Somehow, someway over the next six months this Marine's strong will to live helped him beat the odds with the help and support of a diverse medical team who performed over a dozen surgeries. Family as well as fellow Marines who remained faithfully at his side in ICU and the military hospitals helped him make it though. At Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC he entered rehabilitation with a determination to return to active service in the Marines. Despite serious setbacks and additional surgeries he refused to give up his dream. His work ethic pushed him to exhaustion daily as he attempted to learn how to walk again. This Marine refuses to accept a full service discharge and pension. He was going back to serve his country and nothing was going to stop him! This summer he did it and was flown to the Pacific theater, boarded the Admirals' flagship aircraft carrier and was promoted to Captain in a full on deck ceremony which honored his enthusiastic determination to remain a Marine in service of his country. Patrick was born and raised in Rocky River, Ohio, graduated an accomplished athlete from St Ignatius & the Citadel. He is also a life-long true Browns fan!
Retired United States Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Larry Freetage served for a few years in the states as well as all over the world. He recently retired after so many years of service. He is originally from West Lafayette, OH but had never been in the area, because of his duty stations and assignments that kept him afar. He is most proud of the commitment and dedication that the Marines taught him and he will continue to persevere in life like no other. He held the highest enlisted rank and his friends and family are more than proud of him for all that he's accomplished including numerous awards including Ammunition Chief.
Retired United States Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas McNabb served for 25 years. He had a full career and the highest enlisted rank. He had been like a brother to friends who he'd met throughout the course of his career, helping one who he is close to that had a stroke. His dedication to serve both his country and family in times of need is tremendously appreciated. The season ticket member who nominated him is just so grateful and appreciative of the man that he's become and continued to showcase himself to be. Cleveland is his hometown and the highest award he's received is the commendation medal.
Retired United States Army Corporal Jonathan Hory served four years in the Army. He retired after serving in Iraq in 2008. He struggled with PTSD, but he couldn't totally separate from the service. He is currently in defense contracting and he was sent back over to Iraq and Afghanistan to work. While he was an active member of the military he was in the infantry on the front line. He was in 11 Charlie and worked with chopping mortars and rifleman. He's originally from West Salem Ohio. It's in the Wooster area South of Richland County. He's traveled more as a retiree as he's done a year in South Korea and is now in an undisclosed location that he returned from hours before the game day recognition moment. His medals and commendations include: Iraq Campaign Service Ribbon, Korea Defense Service Ribbon, two Army Commendation Medals, and three AAMs.
We were so honored to be able to showcase those who were nominated to be in the Hats off to our Heroes Honor row for their well-deserved achievements and accolades during their time serving the country.
Learn more about what the Browns do to support and appreciate military year round: https://www.clevelandbrowns.com/community/first-ten/salute-to-service