FedEx Gives Air Force Veteran and USO Supporter Unique Super Bowl LI Opportunity
Bernard Edwards spent 16 years in the Air Force, retiring as a sergeant and surgical operations manager. Edwards led and trained 300 operating room personnel to function as a team for traumatic surgical procedures all around the globe. A few days before Super Bowl LI in Houston, he found himself in a much different position with a very different set of responsibilities.
Edwards received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host his own sports talk radio show on SIRIUS-XM from Radio Row in Houston as part of the festivities leading up to Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. Edwards, an aspiring broadcaster, landed in this unique position thanks to FedEx and the USO. FedEx, the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL and the Super Bowl, recognizes top quarterbacks and running backs in the NFL each week through the FedEx Air & Ground program. This program benefits the USO and its supporters like Edwards.
Edwards is an ambassador for the USO’s military transition services, helping service members stay connected in the community with support and resources that assist them in planning for the future, pursuing new careers and strengthening their families.
“This opportunity is kind of like military transition: you can practice and rehearse all you want, but once the switch turns on and the lights come on, it’s go time,” said Edwards. “I’m used to talking, but the show took that to another level.”
Edwards hosted his very own show in the George R. Brown Convention Center alongside other top-tier media outlets and talked to some of football’s biggest stars who were nominated for the 2016 FedEx Air & Ground NFL Player of the Year Awards. He interviewed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson.
“It was a dream come true,” said Edwards, a self-proclaimed “military brat” who was born in Portugal and graduated high school in Germany. “I have been a football fan my entire life, and to get the chance to host a show from the Super Bowl and talk to some of the best players in the NFL was a really cool opportunity. I was excited to meet Le’Veon Bell, because he’s such a unique player and talented athlete.”
Through the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year program, FedEx donates money to the USO in the name of the weekly winners throughout the football season, and will contribute an additional $100,000 ($50,000 for the quarterback and running back winners) when the awards are announced on Saturday, Feb. 4 at NFL Honors.
Edwards plans to kick off a public speaking career in the coming months, and through USO programs, help other service members stay connected to family, home and country as they transition from military to civilian life.
“This opportunity will hopefully open doors for me down the road, but at the very least, it gave me invaluable experience from one of this country’s biggest sports stages, and I’ll never forget that.”
You can learn more about Edwards’s journey in The Next Mission, a USO documentary presented by Roadtrip Nation. In this film, Edwards and three other Veterans set out on a cross-country road trip to connect with fellow Veterans who faced transition challenges and found fulfilling civilian careers.
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