Ben Garland’s grandparents lost nearly everything when wildfires in Colorado this summer destroyed their home.
Now, they’ll have a reminder of their grandson’s service to his country.
The Broncos defensive tackle was surprised Tuesday, when teammates presented him a pair of silver sabers and an Air Force football helmet, to replace items that were lost in the fire.
“Thank you guys, it means the world to me and my family,” Garland said, via the Associated Press. “That’s one of the biggest things my grandma and my grandpa were sad about losing.”
Air Force Academy graduates are allowed to purchase two of the sabers, and Garland had given his to his grandparents “because they’re the ones that got me through the academy.”
“It meant a lot when I gave them to them, and it hurt a lot when we lost them,” he said.
But when the wildfires that ravaged the region claimed their home, the mementoes were lost.
“We’re glad that we could do something to put a smile on his and his grandparents’ faces,” linebacker Joe Mays said. “He’s a great guy, an awesome guy, a great player. You want to do special things like that for a person such as Ben. The personality that he has, he always comes to work eager and willing to get better.
“He’s an awesome human being as a whole and I’m just glad we were able to get him something.”
Garland’s no sure thing to make the Broncos’ 53-man roster, but the team has already given him back something he’ll remember forever.