Patriots Foundation donating $20,000 to WARRIORS SOAR
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Throughout the 2023 season, the Kraft family, the New England Patriots Foundation and Gillette recognized 17 local volunteers with the “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award.” The honorees were celebrated for going above and beyond to support nonprofit organizations in our New England communities.
As part of this recognition, the foundation will present a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit organization represented by each honoree. The Patriots Difference Makers received a pair of tickets to attend the Patriots final regular season home game on Jan. 7 against the New York Jets and participated in a pregame ceremony.
“The volunteers we are honoring today represent the very best of New England and we appreciate the positive impact they have made in each of their communities throughout the region,” said Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft. “Celebrating volunteerism and giving back to the community have always been, and will always be, of the utmost importance to our family. We are proud that these volunteers and the good work they do will serve as excellent examples and inspiration for others to serve their own communities and to give back to our region.”
Shannon Blake, from Shelburne, VT was selected as the 2023 Patriots Difference Maker of the Year for his commitment to WARRIORS SOAR. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family, the New England Patriots Foundation and Gillette will be making a $20,000 donation to support the nonprofit.
Shannon has spent his entire adult life focusing on service to others. After graduation from the University of Vermont and the Reserve Officer Training Program, Shannon entered the United States Army and became a combat helicopter pilot. While deployed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom he sustained physical and psychological injuries due to numerous and sustained combat operations.
In 2017, Shannon established WARRIORS SOAR (Support, Outreach, Assistance, Recovery) to help wounded veterans reintegrate into society and heal from both physical and mental injuries. The program focuses on mentorship, outreach, comradery, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting activities. WARRIORS SOAR has approximately 350 wounded veterans participating in events and mentorship across the Unites States.
“As an American Patriot, and Army combat veteran, it’s my honor to accept this award on behalf of WARRIORS SOAR,” said Shannon. “We continue to be committed to serving our wounded heroes throughout America.”
Shannon has selflessly served his community, fellow wounded military veterans, and our country with pride and distinction. As the founder, and current leader of WARRIORS SOAR he continues to make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of others. He has been instrumental in the recruiting and retention of his volunteer base of individuals to provide interactive sports programs and mentorship. His spirit for volunteerism and supporting wounded military personnel is not only inspirational but attracts the time and talent of others.
The Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award is part of the foundation’s Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, designed to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlight deserving volunteers from across the region and inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers.
“We are thrilled to stand alongside the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation to honor this year’s exceptional Patriots Difference Makers,” said Kara Buckley, Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs at P&G Gillette. “This community has been home to Gillette for well over a century and it is undoubtedly stronger and brighter because these 17 individuals have dedicated their lives to helping others. We thank them for their work and for serving as a true inspiration to those around them.”
This marks the 13th season of that the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award has been presented to volunteers from across New England. Since its inception, more than 200 individuals have received this award and over $990,000 has been donated to local nonprofit organizations.
To learn more about the program, visit www.patriots.com/community.