When wild fires ravaged the area west of Colorado Springs nearly 300 homes were destroyed. Among those was that of Broncos' rookie Defensive End Ben Garland's grandparents, Hal and Sharon Garland. They lost everything - including the commemorative sabres Ben received after graduating from the Air Force Academy and his Fightin' Falcons football helmet. He had given these things to his grandparents to thank them for helping him get through the Academy. The sabres, in particular, were very special because each graduate is allowed to purchase only two.
The sabres and the helmet have been replaced - courtesy of Garland's Denver Broncos team mates.
Linebacker Joe Mays said of the deed:
"We're glad that we could do something to put a smile on his and his grandparents' faces. 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 journey to the NFL has been interesting. He might have made the Broncos' 2010 squad but, as an AFA grad, he had a five year commitment to active duty. Two years later he has been released by the Air Force and he hopes to have another shot of making the team. It's anything but a sure thing. NFL squads can have up to 90 players in camp, but they must trim their rosters to 53 players by week one.