JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a ceremony this morning at EverBank Field, Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan transferred the keys to a brand new, specially branded van to Bill Spann, director of the City of Jacksonville Military Affairs and Veterans Department (MAVD), to aid in the organization's continued outreach to local veterans. The van features a patriotic color scheme and images of military at recent Jaguars games.
"Our military, both active duty and retired, is an important part of the fabric of Jacksonville and the Jaguars fan base," said Khan. "When veterans decide to call Jacksonville home, that's an honor for all of us, and with that comes the responsibility to support them in their transition to civilian life."
The van is being donated by Khan through the Jaguars Foundation as part of the $1 million commitment made in 2014 to the City of Jacksonville to help fund the creation of the Jacksonville Veterans Resource and Reintegration Center at City Hall. In its first three years of operation, the Center has supported thousands of men, women and their families.
"Our city deeply values and honors the service and sacrifice provided by the men and women of our nation's military," said Mayor Lenny Curry. "The generosity expressed by Shad Khan and the Jaguars Foundation demonstrates this and supports our efforts to reach and serve even more area veterans. We are indeed grateful."
In 2014-2015, Jacksonville's MAVD assisted 6,050 Northeast Florida in receiving $23.5 million in new benefits. With just one week to go in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the department has already increased its outreach by 31 percent, with more than 8,000 vets assisted.
"The success of our veterans outreach efforts would not be possible without Shad Khan and the Jaguars Foundation," said Spann. "This vehicle is going to allow us to expand our outreach efforts even further and connect with veterans across the First Coast on a personal basis."
As part of the partnership with the City of Jacksonville, the Jaguars Foundation also provides additional grants to local non-profit organizations to help the center's clients receive additional support such as emergency financial assistance, career assistance and military spouse and family support. To date, more than $150,000 in grants has been provided to various organizations throughout the First Coast. For more details on the grant application process, visit www.jaguars.com/foundation-community.