The Rams' Salute to Service game presented by QuidelOrtho highlighted the team's year-round commitment to active-duty service members, veterans, and their families for the sixth year of Salute to Service Week. Prior to their Week 11 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the Rams supported Merging Vets & Players (MVP) and their mission to match combat veterans and former professional athletes once their uniforms come off to help them tackle their transitions together and show veterans that they are not alone as part of this commitment.
To kick off the week, Rams rookies Davis Allen, Ethan Evans, Warren McClendon Jr., Kobie Turner and Alex Ward as well as front office staff members joined MVP military veterans for an evening of fun at Topgolf.
Upon interacting with the veterans that are a part of MVP, Allen said, "We're not just football players. We're more than that. To be able to get out and do events like this, it's a real appreciation for us as humans and who we are as people beyond football."
Turner has a personal appreciation for veterans as his dad served in the Marines. "It meant a lot to be able to learn discipline from a young age. That's a big part of my journey and why I've even gotten to this point, [by] being able to stay focused, stay locked in. I think a lot of that does come from my upbringing and a lot of that does come from my dad's military background."
Allen added, "This means a lot coming from a family that's had members serve in the military." Both of Allen's grandfathers served in the military and his brother is currently in the Air Force. "I've always had an appreciation for the military and veterans and I'm excited to be here and be able to interact with these guys."
The Rams have supported MVP through a variety of initiatives and efforts since returning to Los Angeles in 2016. Last year, more than 50 MVP members held the full field American flag during the national anthem of the team's Salute to Service game. During Salute to ServiceWeek in 2021, the Rams, MVP and CLUBWAKA (World Adult Kickball Association) teamed up to host the first-ever adult kickball tournament at SoFi Stadium. In addition, Rams Legend and 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Andrew Whitworth joined others in a virtual fundraiser to raise $100,000 for veterans and athletes impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. The Rams also invited MVP veterans to the team practice facility to participate in workouts and discussions about their transitions.
Throughout the week, the Rams partnered with other veteran service organizations and nonprofits to honor, empower, and connect with the military community.
Rob Havenstein, Coleman Shelton, Larrell Murchison, Jonah Williams, and Kyren Williamsvisited local elementary schools to support the Holidays for Heroes military appreciation campaign and the team joined Living Spaces to provide $15,000 of furniture to U.S. Vets Inglewood where they surprised Navy veteran Thomas Woods with the pLAymaker award.
"It's really cool to be able to interact with different communities and impact different communities. It goes to show the type of organization the Rams are," added Turner.