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Raiders’ Jimmy Garoppolo gives Super Bowl tickets away to veteran

Las Vegas Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a great year on the field. But it's what he's doing off of it in partnership with USAA that's making headlines.
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Photo by We Are The Mighty

Las Vegas Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo is in a few pretty exclusive clubs. The Super Bowl ring club (x2 with the Patriots). The Nike Brand Rep club. The “My grandpa was a WWII vet club.” The 9G club (yep, Jimmy G pulled 9Gs in an F-16 last year!). And now, he’s in the club that gives away Super Bowl tickets to veterans. In partnership with USAA, and the NFL’s Salute to Service, Jimmy was able to surprise a deserving veteran – Joshua (Josh) Polson – with two tickets to this year’s big game in sunny Las Vegas.

Raiders’ Jimmy Garoppolo takes flight in F-16 fighter jet with Air Force Thunderbirds(Team Whistle/USAA)

Polson was born into a military family, the grandson of WWII Army and Marine Corps veterans. Inspired by his grandparents, he enlisted while still in high school and went on to serve for 20 years, first with the United States Air Force and then the New Mexico Air National Guard before retiring as a Technical Sergeant in 2015. He served as a Satellite and Wideband Communications Systems Sergeant, with extensive training in Structural Engineering, Satellite and Wideband, Logistics, and Network Administration – skills crucial to the war effort supporting communications via satellite, computer coding, and server, switch and router administration. 

During his two-decade military career, Polson was stationed at multiple military installations throughout the United States, as well as in Saudi Arabia and Germany. His decorated service history includes being awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, Outstanding Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

Upon retirement from the military, Polson continues to find fulfillment in service to the country as a long-time member of the Wounded Warrior Project where his duties include conducting monthly Peer Leader meetings and hosting volunteer events in Albuquerque. He also works full-time as an IT Specialist at the New Mexico Veterans Hospital, where he most enjoys the camaraderie amongst other service members that became so familiar during his time in the military.

Polson is a lifelong NFL fan, and his favorite team is the Kansas City Chiefs. He plans to bring his wife, Jenny, a Speech Pathologist at an elementary school, with him to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas where they will both meet Jimmy Garoppolo before going to the game.

We caught up with Jimmy in the USAA Salute to Service Lounge as part of the Super Bowl Experience to talk to him about what this opportunity means to him: