Being with the Houston Texans organization for the past four years, I've experienced incredible moments on and off the field, but year after year, it never fails; our Salute to Service game is the one that makes the biggest impact for me. For everything that our active duty military members and veterans do for our freedom and liberty, it's crucial to give back and show our appreciation to the ones that fight and pay for our freedom every single day.
This year our Salute to Service game is dear to my heart because I get to share it with my godfather, Mike Thornton. Mike has always been a special person in my life. He has shown me how to have courage, resilience and dedication in everything I do. He has taught me how to stand by who I am and live with honor.
My Godfather served in the United States Navy for 25 years as Lieutenant, SEAL team 1,2,3,6 MACV-SOG. He enlisted in 1967, was immediately assigned to SEAL Team 1 and completed several tours of duty in Vietnam and Thailand. He is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, as well as a silver star, 3- Bronze stars and a purple heart. However, if you talked to him face to face, you would never hear all of his accomplishments due to his humility.
He now charters his own non-profit designed to tend to the needs of active-duty military and veterans. Using his story to give back to the men and women who are still sacrificing their lives every day. To listen to his story is astonishing - hearing how a man selflessly and courageously decided to make sure his fellow brothers-in-arms were coming home. My Godfather has taught me that even though his awarded story may have been told, there are many other stories that have fallen through the cracks. These stories still need to be told and recognized. Our service members see it as "doing their job," but it means so much more to me. It is about the rigor, time away from family and values these men and women hold.
Our Salute to Service game is just a small way of recognizing every story. A moment to stand in silence and truly appreciate the sacrifices made. A moment to appreciate that our freedom is not free. A moment to recognize the ones who pay the price so that we can live our life to the fullest. I appreciate that the Houston Texans organization not only celebrates in big ways on game day but also in the details. From our cheer uniforms recognizing every branch to having our military fans stand up and be applauded, this is truly my favorite game.
I am proud to be part of an organization and a team that not only honors our service members on gameday but year-round. From serving meals at veteran's hospitals, welcoming soldiers home at the airport, visiting military bases domestically and even internationally throughout the year, we never stop. I am honored as a HTC for our team to be nominated to receive the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA, which recognizes and acknowledges the exceptional efforts by members of the NFL community to honor and support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. 2021 Salute to Service Award Nomination
I can't wait to be back on the field, seeing NRG stadium filled with roaring fans while representing the U.S. Navy and my Godfather in my uniform. Thank you to our military for your service. I am cheering in honor of you.
- HTC Torrey
Join us for Salute to Service Day presented by Bud Light this Sunday at NRG Stadium. Find tickets here.
This year's Salute to Service game is dear to one Houston Texans Cheerleader's heart because she gets to share it with her Godfather.