The feeling of camaraderie is like no other. When I enlisted in the U.S. Army, I expected a humbling road ahead and to meet some of our nation’s best and brightest men and women along the way. Looking back, I gained much more, including lifelong friendships and a commitment to serve.
The Bond of Service
That feeling didn’t end when I left the service, and I know many others feel the same. Veterans are a tight-knit group. We create communities outside of the military to help each other stay connected so we can keep that sense of fellowship. When I was on Active Duty, I noticed that one of the ways I bonded with my fellow servicemembers was through sports—and that bond continued even after leaving the service.
Through Navy Federal’s partnership with the NHL, we saw that hockey is one of those sports that brings together servicemembers, veterans and families. What’s more, we found that hundreds of veteran hockey teams not only compete on the ice, but also give back to their communities in countless ways.
Stick Tap for Service
With our combined passion for hockey and serving in the community, we launched the NHL Stick Tap for Service program. The program highlights veterans and their family members who have strong ties to service, their community and the game of hockey. Started in 2018, it has showcased some truly exceptional people.
Our panel of judges reviews hundreds of submissions each year and can attest to how many individuals are out there giving a helping hand. In honor of all those who give back, here are this year’s Stick Tap for Service finalists.
Meet the Finalists
Bobby is retired U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force (15 years Active Duty). He reintegrated back into civilian life and began playing hockey. Bobby created “Skate for the 22” to use hockey to reduce the number of veteran suicides. Bobby is a Tampa Bay Lighting fan.
Matt is on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Warriors, a program to help with healing, reintegration and growth for abled and disabled veterans using hockey. Bobby enlisted in the Air Force in 2006. After deploying 3 times, he switched to the Air Force Guard in 2012 and became an HVAC technician. Matt is a Minnesota Wild fan.
Marylyn started the Women Veterans Business Center in Houston, TX to educate and empower women veterans and military families. She teaches wealth-generating strategies and provides advisory for veteran-owned businesses. Marylyn is a retired Army Nurse, Gulf War Veteran and National Defense Service Medal recipient. She served 11 years, was deployed to Saudi Arabia and worked as an Intensive Care Nurse, and was honorably discharged in 1992. Marylyn is a Philadelphia Flyers fan and played field hockey throughout high school.
Kelly is the CEO and a 10-year veteran of Stroller Warriors®, a free running club for military spouses and their family members. As a military wife and mom of four, she is currently living in Okinawa, Japan. Her connection to hockey comes from her older brother who played growing up, her nephews who play and her daughter who went to her first hockey game at 3 months old.
Follow us on social media to stay current with all our Stick Tap for Service updates.Brian K. Parker serves as the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications at Navy Federal Credit Union. Brian is a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army Warrior Leader’s Course.