Touchdowns and Tributes: Veterans Day Celebration on the Field

We wanted to wrap up November and all the celebrations being done for National Veterans and Military Families month by sharing a little bit about one of our favorite local non-profits!

Veterans Day is a holiday most of us celebrate once a year, however Support U.S. Armed Forces celebrates veterans every day of the year! Support U.S. Armed Forces (SUSAF) is a non-profit who “does a lot with a little,” according to Crystal Carlson, Administrator. The organization provides year-round resources to U.S. Military, their families, and veterans through publicly funded programs and services. They believe in more than just recognizing the bravery of our veterans, but also in providing them with the resources, care, and community that they deserve.

LS Tractor has been partnering with Support U.S. Armed Forces since 2022. Through our partnership with NC State, LS Tractor funds the Touchdown for Heroes program that donates to SUSAF for every touchdown NC State scores. This is a fun program that has everyone cheering for NC State! The more touchdowns they score, the more LS Tractor can support this wonderful non-profit. SUSAF has local events going on all year long, however, one of their biggest events is the Military Appreciation Game at NC State. LS Tractor is proud to partner with SUSAF to make this game memorable and honorable for our veterans.

The Saturday before Veterans Day, NC State hosted the annual Military Appreciation Game. NC State fought a tough game and ended up on top against Miami.  SUSAF has been on the Military Appreciation planning committee since 2010.  Crystal works vigorously with the Director of Marketing and Fan Experience at NC State. They also team up with Gameday Operations, Wolfpack Sports Properties, NCSU ROTC, Students Veterans, Wolfpack Club, and Ticketing.

The entire operation puts on an amazing show each year for our U.S. Veterans. Crystal hosts the Purple Heart Veterans, who are combat-wounded veterans. This year she was able to host 9 Purple Heart Veterans. Crystal told us the committee works to find representation from WW2, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq and most recent, Peace Keeping Missions. With representation from different wars, they recognize the “Veterans’ Per Era” group.  They also aim to represent Gold Star Families, which are families who have lost a service member in combat or other causes. This year, they were able to represent a family with 3 generations of military duty.

Before the game begins, Coca-Cola hosts a tailgate at PNC for all the volunteers and honorees. NC State covers all veterans’ tickets and parking and there is also a mini parade by the wolf statue. A couple of hours before the game begins, there is a walk of champions where all the  Military Honorees line up and the team greets them as they head into the locker room for the game. The team will shake the veterans’ hands and hi five them to let them know they are appreciated.

NC State is one of the few universities left that still holds up a full-size American flag on the field during halftime. It takes 170 people to hold up the flag. The band plays patriotic music and bag pipers play as everyone starts marching from visitor side over to the NC state side, then they start unfurling the flag from sideline to sideline. It’s quite an amazing and very moving program.

Veterans are not only delighted by the program, but LS Tractor takes immense pride in collaborating with Support U.S. Armed Forces and contributing to the remarkable initiatives they work on year-round for the military community. For more information on programs they have coming up, click the link below.