It takes a heck of a lot for a crusty old NFL coach to be moved to tears, yet that's almost what took place Wednesday night.
Tom Coughlin was honored for his volunteer work with the U.S. Army. The cantankerous Giants coach opens doors to his teams practices and games for soldiers and their families. In addition, Coughlin regularly visits wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center and other installations, and he even flew to Iraq in 2009 as part of a USO tour with other NFL coaches.
Accordingly, Coughlin received the Outstanding Civilian Service Award, right in the middle of Washington Redskins country.
Army Chief of Staff Raymond T. Odierno, a well known Giants fan, left Coughlin humbled and at times speechless during the patriotic ceremony that took place with four others near Arlington National Cemetery with a view of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, according to the NY Post.
As an illustration of how special the ceremony was, it included an artillery salute, as well as soldiers reenacting moments from the Revolutionary War and Vietnam.
“When the general was standing there reading off that stuff about me, it was almost like I was saying to myself, ‘Who’s he talking about?’" Coughlin told The Post. “It was unbelievable to me,” continued Coughlin, who was accompanied to the event by wife Judy. “The patriotism just came pouring out of me with all of the pomp and circumstance and standing there next to a four-star general. That’s what you call humbling.”
Coughlin, who will be back in DC with the Giants specifically for a visit to President Obama at the White House on June 8, will be happy to know the Chief of Staff is a huge fan of his community service.
“You’re talking about someone who has really dedicated himself over a long period of time to caring about our soldiers and their families,” Onierno told the NY Post. “His dedication to the military is quite significant.”
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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